Friday, February 29, 2008

St. Francis Xavier, S.J. Life Set To Music

Francisco Javier - La Ruta de Oriente (Routes of the Orient)

This two-disc set is perhaps Jordi Savall 's most ambitious and handsome one yet! It is programmatic, following the life and eastern travels of Francis Xavier (1506-1552), the founder of the Catholic Church’s Xavarian order. Vocal and instrumental music from various periods in his life abound. There are lively dances like the opening rotundellus and melancholy sacred refrains with original instruments, like Dios Te Salve. Listening to these works, you realize how easily religious and secular culture comingled, sometimes within the same composition. At the end of the first disc, there is a virtuosic African drum piece and a riveting Indian raga, ostensibly of the type Xavier may have encountered in his travels. Perhaps to keep Xavier’s roots in mind, Savall has inserted a snatch of Gregorian chant between an Iberian villancico (folk song) and the Indian raga.

Link (here)


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