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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released April 2, 2013 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Pan Classics

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Classical - Released May 3, 2011 | Glossa

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Classical - Released June 26, 2020 | Glossa

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Chamber Music - Released March 6, 2012 | Glossa

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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | Glossa

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Classical - Released June 5, 2020 | Glossa

There was a point where the lute sonatas of Sylvius Leopold Weiss were so obscure that Andrés Segovia would play them on guitar thinking he was doing them a favor through reviving them on the "superior" instrument. However, Weiss played a 13-course lute and Segovia's Spanish classical guitar naturally has only six strings; while Segovia considered an instrument like Weiss' as having "too many strings," it is nevertheless the right one to play Weiss' music on, owing to its tone and special resonance. One of the finest players of 13-course lute is Spaniard José Miguel Moreno, who has played in Jordi Savall's group Hesperion XX and leads another, La Romanesca. Glossa's Sylvius Leopold Weiss: Ars Melancholiae consists of two complete Weiss sonatas, two chaconnes, and a little clutch of single pieces placed at the album's center; recorded in 1993, this is one of the finest single-disc collections devoted to Weiss ever. Moreno plays beautifully, making judicious use of the acoustic space in which he is performing and the negative space around him as well. The playing is fluid, controlled, and conforms very comfortably to the contours of Weiss' constant spinning out of contrapuntal lines; significant, as a large part of Weiss' appeal is his similarity of approach to Johann Sebastian Bach in terms of texture. The one thing here that seems a little questionable is the choice of pace in the Sarabande from the Sonata in D major; Moreno takes it very slowly, and on its own it is a very beautiful and striking artistic statement, full of color and space. However, it just seems a little too slow for a sarabande; one wonders if anyone could get away with playing a sarabande at such a tempo in the eighteenth century. Nevertheless, other than that -- and admittedly the reservation stated is more a matter of curiosity than a criticism of the performance -- Glossa's Sylvius Leopold Weiss: Ars Melancholiae is perfect, and it's hard to imagine why anyone who appreciates good music wouldn't want it. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 19, 2020 | Glossa

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Classical - Released June 26, 2020 | Glossa

As the lusty semi-popular vocal styles of the Spanish Baroque have gained prominence, the instrumental music of the era that in many cases forms its natural counterpart is being recorded. The Instrucción de Música sobre la guitarra española of Gaspar Sanz (1674), which is somewhere between a true instruction manual and a collection of music, which would have been known only to specialists even in the last decades of the 20th century, has received several recordings. This one, recorded in the year 2000 by Spaniard José Miguel Moreno, lies somewhere near the interpretive mean, and it makes both a safe and an enjoyable choice. The pieces, all quite short, include dances, imitative and programmatic works (the Batalla or battle piece, track 12, has counterparts in many other European traditions of the time), pieces based on vocal models, and ground-bass pieces like the Chacona that concludes the set. Some of the genres, like the vigorous Canarios and the Mariçapalos (or Marizápalos) will be familiar to fans of Jordi Savall's successful recordings of the Spanish repertory. Also familiar to Savall's listeners, but much less so to lovers of other European guitar traditions, will be the presence of an accompanmental group, with theorbo and/or tiple and percussion. This music has sometimes been performed without the accompaniment, but it's pretty clear from Sanz's own writings that he had one in mind. It's also possible to add a larger percussion contingent; the percussion here, from the ubiquitous Pedro Estevan, is light but lively. The understanding of how this music should be performed is still evolving, but Moreno's readings feel natural and integrated, and he's quite an expressive player whose way of taking a little time in the opening bars of a piece brings home the fact that Sanz in his own time would have been a renowned and charismatic performer. Glossa's sound, recorded in a music conservatory auditorium, is ideal, with guitar sounds coming through only in intense, silent passages. The booklet notes, in English, French, German, and Spanish, go into quite a bit of detail about the performance issues surrounding this music, but this release can be recommended even to those with a more general interest. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 10, 2020 | Glossa

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Classical - Released June 26, 2020 | Glossa

The repertory of the Spanish vihuela from the 16th century remains little investigated, partly because few original instruments exist; when vihuela works appear on recordings they are often played on the lute or guitar. This is a shame, for the instrument has its own sound and a repertory (albeit one that often claimed playability on various instruments) that exploited that sound. The vihuela is large, with six pairs of strings running up a large body and long neck, and the music on this album exploits the instrument's rich sonority and capability for ornamentation rather than the rapid runs, called redobles in Spanish, that are characteristic of music for other plucked stringed instruments. This album was issued in 1992 on the Glossa label; beautifully recorded, it still had little competition when reissued in 2010. Six composers are represented, most of them quite obscure: Luys Venegas de Henestrosa, Miguel de Fuenllana, Diego Pisador, Antonio de Cabezón, Enríquez de Valderrábano, and Luys Milán, and there is one anonymous set of diferencias (variations). The genre situation is fluid in this repertory (for instance, there's some evidence that any work not based on a preexisting vocal model might be considered a "fantasía"), but generally speaking there are three basic types: intabulations of vocal pieces, which might involve elaboration and be called a "glosa" or gloss; diferencias; and dance pieces, often on Italian lute models. The glosas are fancier and more ornamented than you might think; sample Fuenllana's Glosa sobre Tan que vivray (Claudin de Sermisy's Tant que vivray, track 5, for a piece based on a familiar Renaissance song). The diferencias, on the other hand, are reflective and subtle rather than fiery, except for the Cabezón pieces, which were keyboard works, and, though theoretically suited to the vihuela, too, take some doing to play this way. For the casual listener it's a lot of vihuela, but ornamentation and the occasional pungent harmonic detail provide variety. The engineering remains a major strong point; recorded in the Villa Consuelo in the Spanish town of San Lorenzo del Escorial, the vihuela is in an environment close to the ones where the music was originally heard, and it is clear and immdiate without being overbearing. A worthwhile release, especially for those with an interest in this and similar repertories. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 3, 2020 | Glossa

Spanish soprano Núria Rial has a voice ideally suited for early music. Her tone is marvelously pure and strong, but unforced. Her delivery is natural, and the easy agility she brings to even the most florid passages has the unmannered directness of folk song. Especially distinctive and attractive are the warmth and lively intelligence of the personality she puts across in her singing; she's equally at ease in playful whimsy and in heartfelt laments. These Spanish songs and villancicos from the Renaissance, many of which have the spontaneity, simplicity, and memorable lyricism of folk song, are an ideal showcase for displaying Rial's gifts. The vihuela, a close relative of the guitar, was the most popular instrument for accompanying songs in Renaissance Spain, and José Miguel Moreno plays various vihuelas and Renaissance guitars here, performing with fluidity and finesse. He also has several solo tracks. The composers, including Alonso de Mudarra, Diego Pisador, Miguel de Fuenllana, Esteban Daça, and Enríquez de Valderrábano, who are likely to be known primarily to fans of the Spanish Renaissance, wrote these songs and dances during the 16th century. The gentle charm of the music and lovely, graceful performances make this a recording that should be of strong interest to early music fans. Glossa's sound is clean, clear, and warmly present. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released July 1, 2014 | Glossa

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Secular Vocal Music - Released March 31, 2015 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Glossa