Various: Works from the times of Charles V

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LABELS: Alia Vox
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Mille Regretz Ð La Canción del Emperador
WORKS: Works from the times of Charles V
PERFORMER: La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI/Jordi Savall
When he abdicated in 1556, Charles V had consolidated the Holy Roman Empire inherited from his grandfather Maximilian I. Moreover, as the most powerful monarch of his time he attracted the finest musicians to his court. It was especially fortunate, then, that his reign coincided with the golden age of Renaissance polyphony.


In this musical portrait of Charles’s life, Jordi Savall directs the Chapel Royal of Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI in a brilliant musical portrait of Charles’s career that is outstanding for its rich colours, rhythmic verve and apt characterisation. They set the scene with a stately account of Isaac’s ‘Fortunata desperata’ and an intoxicating version of ‘Quand je bois du vin claret’. Other highlights include the sensuous shaping in ‘Amor con fortuna’ by Enzina, festive vitality in Josquin’s ‘Vive le Roy’ (celebrating Charles’s birth), loving tendresse in Arbeau’s ‘Belle, qui tiens ma vie’ (signifying Charles’s marriage to Isabel of Portugal) and delicious abandon in Willaert’s ‘Vecchie letrose’ (commemorating the sack of Rome). Sensitive renderings of the Sanctus from Morales’s Missa Mille regretz (marking Charles’s coronation), Josquin’s chanson ‘Mille regretz’ (recalling Isabel’s death) and Morales’s ‘Circumdederunt me’ complete this touching memorial to one of the greatest sovereigns in European history.