Jordi Savall, Hesperion XXI, and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo (Perth Festival) ★★★★1/2

Reviewed by
ABR Arts 20 February 2018

Jordi Savall, Hesperion XXI, and Tembembe Ensamble Continuo (Perth Festival) ★★★★1/2

Reviewed by
ABR Arts 20 February 2018

Jordi Savall’s reputation preceded him and the Perth Concert Hall was bursting at the seams for the first night of his national tour. The Spanish musician and his band Hesperion XXI are renowned for their interpretations of early music.

This concert program was based around the folia – one of the oldest remembered European musical themes. The folia chord progression can be traced back to Italian and Spanish vocal music at the end of the fifteenth century and has been used by more than 150 composers since, from Lully to Liszt. Savall’s concert program explored three centuries of folia music, making the connection between the Spanish original and its parallel evolution in the Caribbean, transported there by the conquistadors and early Creole settlers.

Savall’s five-piece Hesperion XXI (viol, guitar/theorbo, Spanish Baroque harp, violone, and percussion) was supplemented by Tembembe Ensamble Continuo (assorted guitars, percussion, and violin, plus two singers and a dancer), which specialises in repertoire blending European Baroque with indigenous Mexican and Latin American sounds.

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