Concert Preview: Jordi Savall with Hespèrion XXI

Last year Jordi Savall stole the VIVA! & Gala spotlight with his performance of Music Dialogues from Orient & Occident. This season he returns to the Gartner Auditorium stage with his celebrated early music ensemble Hespèrion XXI for a November 7 concert commemorating the reinstallation of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Renaissance galleries. Originally created as Hespèrion XX in 1974 by Jordi Savall, his late wife Monserrat Figueras, and musicians Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith, the ensemble changed its name to Hespèrion XXI in 2000 in conjunction with a new century of musical exploration. The group’s modern treatment of ancient music—much of which they have revived from obscurity—and their self-professed “search for a dynamic synthesis of musical expression, stylistic and historical research, and creative imagination” makes them a unique and important fixture in the early music landscape. This extraordinary ensemble of music experts will be performing a program of pre-1700 consort music, the likes of which would have been enjoyed by Renaissance audiences. Today’s audience members can expect to be delighted by the ensemble’s use of early instruments, such as the viola da gamba, an ancestor of the modern-day cello. Jordi Savall is widely considered to be one of the greatest viola da gambists performing today, and as decades-long leader of Hespèrion XXI he extracts the same kind of virtuosity from the musicians under his direction. As a recent Financial Times profile commented, “early music under Savall’s direction is exhilarating. Improvised passages in Hespèrion XXI’s medieval repertoire can induce a kind of keyed-up trance in audiences. As both musicologist and conductor, Savall knows how to marry head and heart, his rigorous research into sources always transformed, through performance, into emotion.” Read more, hear musical samples, and purchase tickets for Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI’s Wednesday, November 7 performance on our Web site. A free talk featuring Jordi Savall and museum director David Franklin will precede the concert.

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