Sunday, November 18, 2012

“Diferencias sobre las folias”

A happy Sunday, my friends. Time again for some music!

A short blog post can’t do justice to any of the subjects involved in today’s video—La Folía, Antonio Martín y Coll, Jordi Savall or any of the other artists involved in this 2002 concert of Folías de España held at the Festival de Música Antigua de Lanvellec, France. But I will devote a little space to each, as well as provide links so that anyone who’s interested can find out more. I should start by saying that if you want to hear & see the concert in its entirety, you can find it at this link.

La Folía is the name given a series of musical themes based around a minor chord progression. This framework has been used not only as a vehicle for improvisation—in some senses as the 12-bar blues chord progression is used for improvisation in blues & jazz—but the themes that emerge have also found their way into well-known canonical works of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic periods & beyond—themes from La Folía have appeared in compositions by Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Liszt & Rachmaninoff, not to mention a number of other composers, especially from the Baroque period.

Antonio Martín y Coll, who lived from around 1680-1734, was one such composer. He was a Franciscan friar, but he played the organ & he published Flores de Música in the early 18th century. This contains his “Diferencias sobre las folias,” based on La Folía—or at least, it’s assumed to be his. Authorship was much different in the 17th century!

Jordi Savall is a major figure in Baroque & what we call “Early Music”—the music of the late Middle Ages & the Renaissance. He is known as one of the foremost violists in the world, & you will see & hear him playing viola da gamba (the tenor size, I believe) in this video. Along with his late wife Monsterrat Figueras, Savall founded the Early Music consort Hespèrion XX (since the beginning of the new century, Hespèrion XXI), which has done much to revitalize this wonderful ancient music.

The other performers at this concert are Jordi Savall's daughter, harpist Arianna Savall, lutenist Rolf Lislevand (who plays baroque guitar on this piece), & the amazing percussionists, Pedro Estevan & Adela González-Campa.

This is truly rich & compelling music performed by virtuoso musicians—enjoy!

Image of Antonio Martín y Coll’s Flores de Música links to its source at


  1. Ah, I love early music! And I've been a Savall and Hespérion fan for decades. Thanks for another great start to a Sunday morning.

    1. Hi Roy: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. If you haven't done so already, I really recommend following the link to the full concert, which is just over 50 minutes long.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the music in the clip John. Do you know, you - along with Tony Zimnoch - have been responsible for exposing me yo more new styles and types of music during the last six years than anyone else I can think of. I thank you for it.

    1. Thank you very much, Alan, I truly appreciate that comment.


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