For more than fifty years, Jordi Savall, one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation, has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher into early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a gambist and a conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the reappraisal of historical music. Together with Montserrat Figueras, he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987) and Le Concert des Nations (1989), with whom he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early music enthusiasts around the world.
His essential contribution to Alain Corneau’s film Tous les Matins du Monde, which won a César for the best soundtrack, his busy concert schedule (140 concerts per year), his recordings (6 albums per year) and his own record label, Alia Vox, which he founded with Montserrat Figueras in 1998, Jordi Savall has proved not only that early music does not have to be elitist, but that it can appeal to increasingly diverse and numerous audiences of all ages. As the critic Allan Kozinn wrote in The New York Time (2005), his vast concert and recording career can be described as “not simply a matter of revival, but of imaginative reanimation.”
Savall has recorded and released more than 230 discs covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music repertories, with a special focus on the Hispanic and Mediterranean musical heritage, receiving many awards and distinctions such as the Midem Classical Award, the International Classical Music Award and the Grammy Award. His concert programmes have made music an instrument of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between different and sometimes warring peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists appearing with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican and North American musicians. In 2008 Jordi Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Montserrat Figueras, was named “Artist for Peace” under the UNESCO “Good Will Ambassadors” programme.
He has played a seminal role in the rediscovery and performance of Una cosa rara and Il burbero di buon cuore by the composer Vicent Martín i Soler. He has also conducted Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya in performances of de Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Vivaldi’s Farnace, Fux’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Vivaldi’s Il Teuzzone.
Jordi Savall’s prolific musical career has brought him the highest national and international distinctions, including honorary doctorates from the Universities of Evora (Portugal), Barcelona (Catalonia), Louvain (Belgium) and Basel (Switzerland), the order of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (France), the Praetorius Music Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of Lower Saxony, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Prize, which is considered the Nobel prize of the music world. “Jordi Savall testifies to a common cultural inheritance of infinite variety. He is a man for our time” (The Guardian, 2011).
Jordi Savall has received the 2015 Vaz da Silva Prize at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, an award given in recognition of artists who protect and disseminate the European cultural heritage. He has also been awarded the Gold Medal of the Fine Arts Circle in Madrid (2015).
Le Concert des Nations
Founded in 1989 by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras during the preparation of their project on Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Canticum Beatae Virgine, the orchestra Le Concert des Nations was born out of the need for an orchestra of period instruments capable of performing a repertory spanning from the Baroque to the Romantic period (1600-1850). Its name comes from François Couperin’s work Les Nations, a concept which represents the coming together of musical tastes and the idea that Art in Europe would always bear its own particular stamp, that of the Age of Enlightenment.
Le Concert des Nations, under the direction of Jordi Savall, was the first orchestra to be composed of a majority of musicians from Latin countries (Spain, Latin America, France, Italy, Portugal, etc.), all leading international specialists in the performance of early music using original period instruments on historical principles. From the outset, the group’s manifest aim has been to raise audiences’ awareness of an historical repertory of great quality by combining rigorous respect for the original spirit of each work with a revitalising approach to their performance, as is apparaent from their recordings of works by Charpentier, J. S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Marais, Arriaga, Beethoven, Purcell, Dumanoir, Lully, Biber, Boccherini, Rameau and Vivaldi.
In 1992 Le Concert des Nations made its opera debut with a production of Martín i Soler’s Una Cosa Rara staged at the Théatre des Champs Élysées in Paris, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. The group subsequently performed in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Arsenal in Metz and the Teatro Reggio in Turin. In 2002 the production returned to the re-opened Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, where it was recorded for a BBC-Opus Arte DVD. It was subsequently also staged at the Palais des Arts in Brussels, the Grand-Théâtre in Bordeaux and the Piccolo Teatro in Milan during the Mito Festival. In 1995 the orchestra performed another opera by Martín i Soler, Il Burbero di Buon Cuore in Montpeller, followed in 2000 by Juan Hidalgo and Calderón de la Barca’s Celos aun del Ayre matan staged in a concert version in Barcelona and Vienna. Recent productions have included Vivaldi’s Farnace,staged at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, and Vivaldi’s Il Teuzzone, performed in a semi-concert version at the Òpera Royal at Versailles.
Le Concert des Nations’ numerous recordings have won various awards and distinctions, including the Midem Classical Award and the International Classical Music Awards. The impact of their productions, recordings and performances in the major cities and music festivals around the world have earned them recognition as one of the best orchestras specialising in performance using period instruments and an eclectic, diverse repertory ranging from the earliest music composed for orchestra to the masterpieces of the Romantic and Classical periods.
Source: Alia Vox (harmonia mundi)