"The Erythrean Sibyl was one of the pagan prophets that were cited by Christian writers (in this case, St. Augustine) as witnesses to the coming of the Messiah. A homily attributed to St. Augustine was read at Christmas Matins, and in the 10th century the Song of the Sibyl was sung during that Office. Later it was used on Good Friday because of its relevance to the day of judgment. Vernacular versions have been sung in polyphony since the later Middle Ages.
This disc first appeared as Astrée E 8705. It offers Latin, Provençal, and Catalan examples of the song...Montserrat Figueras is a superb artist who every so often gives us an extraordinary program of surpassing beauty such as this one, a point IRead more made when I reviewed Ninna Nanna (26:6). The seven versions of the song are fascinating, but this disc is the indispensable one of the three, for the first track is the original Latin chant. Other recordings of this chant have all been truncated, if I recall correctly, except Brigitte Lesne’s lovely version (18:5), which is complete but takes half as long to sing as Figueras’s expansive rendition. The two use different sources, Lesne using BnF lat. 1018, while Savall mentions five sources without indicating which one he has used.
The whole disc is mesmerizing. If you don’t have it already, you will find the surround sound captures the ambiance of Savall’s favorite recording venue at Cardona very aptly. Figueras is backed by the choral and instrumental capella most effectively. The 98-page booklet is much more elaborate than the original issue. This disc is a classic."
FANFARE: J. F. Weber Reviewing earlier release of this recording, Alia Vox 9879Read less
Works on This Recording
Cant de la Sibillaby Anonymous
Montserrat Figueras (Soprano)
La Capella Reial de Catalunya
Period: Medieval Written: Spain
Sibil-la latine [Spain, 10th-11th centuries]
Sibil-la provencale [Spain, 12th-13th centuries]
Sibil-la catalane [Spain, 15th century]
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Unforgettable!March 6, 2014By Frederick Hecht (Scottsdale, AZ)See All My Reviews"The late Montserrat Figueras was as fine a singer of early music as we have had the great pleasure of hearing. Here she was in fine voice and was beautifully accompanied by La Capella de la Catalunya under the direction of her gifted husband Jordi Savall. Unforgettable!"Report Abuse
Bravo, Montserrat and Jordi! September 30, 2013By Daniel B. (Lilydale, MN)See All My Reviews"I have been collecting CDs by Jordi Savall and his ensembles for several years now, and they never fail to entertain and inspire me. The first was an anthology album, Orient-Occident 1200-1700, which put together music from East and West to create what Amin Maalouf calls a dialogue of souls. More recently, La Barcha d'Amore 1563-1685, gathers love music from the countries of Renaissance Europe into a dialogue of hearts. But it is this earlier anthology, El Cant de la Sibil-la, from 1988, which has most deeply affected me. It features Savall's wife, the soprano Montserrat Figueras, singing three songs of the Sibyl, a Latin song (10th c.), a Provencal (12th c.) and a Catalan (15th c.). The liner inform us the Sibyls were ancient prophetesses who were absorbed into medieval Christian culture. Theirs was the voice of wisdom and fatality, we are told, and the music has an austere, solemn beauty that commands silence and attention. Some of the text is translated which adds to one's understanding of the historical facts. But this is music that communicates with immediacy in the stillness of listening. Call it a dialogue of psyches - it is that profound and moving."Report Abuse