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Fanfare 32: 3 (01-02/2009)
Alia Vox
AVSA 9859

Code-barres/Barcode: 7619986398594



Critique: Barry Brenesal


These performances were recorded in 1994, ... Here they are again, presenting all the completed fantasias: the three in three parts, the nine in four parts, the fantasia “upon one note” in five parts, and the glorious Fantasia in Nomine in six parts. Savall’s Hespèrion XX fits this music perfectly, with their rich, beautiful tone, clarity of texture, individual technical prowess, and strength of ensemble. The Rose Consort of Viols (Naxos 8.553957) offers a wirier, less pleasant version of what we have here; while as introverted as this music is, I admit to preferring Hespèrion XX to the still darker and smoother Fretwork on Virgin Classics 45062—which, however, contains the incomplete 10th Fantasia in four parts.

The engineering was first-rate in its day, and that still holds true, though I don’t get any increased depth of sound when switching from two to five speakers. Harry Halbreich provides the fine liner notes. There’s really nothing to add except, “Buy it.”



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