Euskel Antiqva: Legacy of the Land of Basque - Enrike Solinís / Euskal Barrokensemble
The name of gambist and conductor Jordi Savall's new Alia Vox Diversa label may seem puzzling, inasmuch as it's hard to imagine anything more diverse that the existing Alia Vox catalogue, covering music that spans half the globe. The unifying factor seems to be that Savall himself is not present; the leader of the Euskal Barrokensemble here is multi-instrumentalist Enrike Solinís, a member of Savall's Hesperion XXI. The music is for the most part not "Baroque" but covers a wide range of music associated with the Euskel Antiqva, the Basque legacy. Most of the music is in the mysterious Basque language (and you get full booklet notes in that language), but some is in Spanish. Both secular and sacred pieces are included, and the basic structures range from Western tonal periods to individual improvisations in more or less Arabic or Persian modes. The repertory as a whole takes off nicely from the Spanish Golden Age core competence of Savall's groups, but there are, as you would expect, some absolutely new wrinkles. The basic modus operandi, finding a forgotten tradition and making sympathetic arrangements for a variety of medieval and Baroque instruments, will be familiar to Savall fans. They are very likely to be overjoyed to hear not only the Basque legacy, but that of Savall, carried forward so effectively.