Hypnotized by Hesperion XXI


If you click here, you’ll hear some of the hypnotic music we heard yesterday at the concert by Hesperion XXI, conducted by Jordi Savall. I was absolutely mesmerized by this early music from Istanbul — music from the Ottoman, Sephardic, Greek and Armenian traditions. I cannot even describe the instruments that were used in this ensemble and I wish there were videos which show these virtuosic performers and their instruments. Two years ago when we were at BEMF, Jordi Savall played music in the Irish and Celtic traditions. This year the program was all Middle Eastern, and the players were from Turkey, Armenia, Greece, Morocco and Spain playing kanun, oud, ney, duduk, santur, percussion, vielle and lyre. Click here to hear another example of this exotic, mesmerizing music. The audience went absolutely wild after this concert and immediately gave them a standing ovation.

I forgot to mention that on our way into Jordan Hall, along with a mob of people trying to enter, guess who was standing right next to me, saying “excuse me!” It was Jordi Savall, trying to get into the theatre. I tapped Carl on the shoulder, “isn’t that The Man?” and the woman next to me said, “Don’t they have artists’ entrances?” Then he immediately went onstage and was there for at least ten minutes before the concert tuning his instruments. People in the audience paid him no attention and continued their conversations until the concert began. But of course, we knew who he was!


We next went to a concerted Vespers program at the First Lutheran Church with the group called Canto Armonico, and they performed the music of Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Ludwig Senfl (1486-1543), Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), and Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629). It was billed as an Organvespers for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, but it turned out to be mostly choral music. Unfortunately the pacing of it was very slow, and I think it took them almost ten minutes to sing seven verses of the hymn, “Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam” by Michael Praetorius.

Antiphonal singing at the Organvespers.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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