Sunday, December 30, 2012

“José Embala O Menino”

A happy Sunday, friends. December is winding down to its close.

But I hold by the 12 days of Christmas, which means the season is far from over. So once again, we have the remarkable singer Montserrat Figueras, this month’s featured artist, with a seasonal lullaby, the Portuguese “José Embala O Menino.” It really is a remarkable song—as I understand the lyric, Joseph cradles the baby Jesus while Mary does washing at Bethlehem’s fountain. As she washes, she sings, & as she sings, she weeps—anyone familiar with the overall mythos will recognize she is weeping already for the Christ’s Passion. Montserrat Figueras delivers the song against a very spare backing with an unerring melodic, emotive & lyrical reading. This is a superlative performance, taken from her 2003 Alia Vox release, Ninna Nanna, ca. 1500-2002.

Montserrat Figueras passe3d away in November 2011, at the far too young age of 69. Still, her music lives in its vibrancy & vitality through her recordings, & her legacy in early music is also carried on by her husband, Jordi Savall, her daughter Arianna Savall & son Ferren Savall, as well as by the other members of various early music ensembles she helped to form, including Hespèrion XXI. You can learn more about this talented musician at the Alia Vox website.

Next Sunday we will wrap up the Christmas themed music, though this is the last post in the Montserrat Figueras series. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Image links to its source:
“Christ’s Nativity” from the Niederwildungen Altarpiece (1403): 

Conrad von Soest
Wiki Commons – public domain


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