Vox Iberica III: El Sabio - Songs for King Alfonso X

Vox Iberica III: El Sabio
Gesänge für König Alfonso X. von Kastilien und León - Songs for King Alfonso X of Castille and León (1221-1284)
Sequentia - Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby, dirs
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (BMG) 05472 77173 2 [CD]
Orfeo/DHM ORF 027 [CD]


  1. CSM 250: Por nos, Virgen Madre
  2. CSM 194: Como o nome da Virgen
  3. CSM 193: Sobelos fondos do mar
  4. CSM 421: Nenbre-sse-te, Madre de Deus, Maria
  5. CSM 260: Dized', ai trobadores
  6. CSM 290: Maldito seja quen non loara
  7. CSM 120: Quantos me creveren loaran
  8. CSM 160: Quen boa dona querra
  9. CSM 181: Pero que seja a gente
  10. Guiraut de Riquier: Humils, forfaitz, repres e penedens
  11. CSM 100: Santa Maria, strela do dia
  12. CSM 38: Pois que Deus quis da Virgen
  13. CSM 401: Macar poucos cantares acabei e con son

  14. Anon., 13th c.: Kharjas in the Andalusian style
  15. Que faray, mamma
  16. Meu sidi Ibrahim
  17. Gar si yes devina
  18. Garid vos ay yermanellas
  19. CSM 168: En todo logar a poder

[1]-[9], [11]-[18] El Escorial, Real Monasterio de El Escorial, B.1.2 (E1) and T.1.1 (T1)
[10] Paris, Bibl. Nat. fr. 22543, fol. 105v

Women's ensemble: Barbara Thornton (voice, direction), Elizabeth Glen (voice), Debra Gomez (voice), Cornelia Melián (voice), Susanne Norin (voice), Consuelo Sañudo (voice)
Men's ensemble: Benjamin Bagby (voice, harp, lute, direction), Stephen Grant (voice), Eric Mentzel (voice, symphonia, organistrum), Raimund Nolte (voice), Bernhard Schneider (voice), Rainer Ullreich (fiddle, rebab)
Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby, dirs

Playing time: 78'

Recording site and date:
Seewen, Switzwerland [2/1991];
Rel.: 1992

[5], [9], [11], [14]-[15], [17]-[18] RCA "Red Seals" 82876 60986 2 [CDx4] Trésors - Moyen-Âge

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77333 2 [CDx3] Vox Iberica

As always, Sequentia proposes us an excellent recording of these pieces dedicated to the miracles of the Holy Mary. The alternation between male voices and female voices allows a great variety, as well as alternatain of tutti/soli or the use of instruments to underline the voices. This version is less festive than the one made by Savall (also less instruments), and is more a priest to Mary than the exaltation of Hespèrion XX. Both approaches are interesting and have to be heard to have a better overview of this wonderful music. By the way, B. Thornton has as always that plain voice which makes her interpretation very attaching (track 10).

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Bruno Cornec