Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, M. Figueras, Hespèrion XX (inter alii), J. Savall
(re-released on October 25, 2010)
Virgin 628658 2 1 | 59'18"
The only drawback of this re-release, priced to move, is that the booklet contains neither texts nor translations of the fascinating texts, some in Latin and some in Catalan, but you can find both here and they are worth reading, intense in their pious sentiments and specific to the mountaintop monastic house for which they were composed, like a vivid slice of late medieval life. Perhaps only in the "calamitous 14th century," as historian Barbara Tuchman termed it, could such dancing enthusiasm be matched to lyrics about hastening toward death ("You will become a vile cadaver, why will you not avoid sin?") in the final piece. In a nice touch, the male schola reprises the opening piece at the end of the disc, the serene chant O virgo splendens hic in monte celso miraculis serrato (O virgin, shining brightly, on this high serrated mountain -- Montserrat), which fades into the distance as the pilgrimage continues.