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Fanfare Magazine: 38:6 (07-08/2015) 
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Reviewer: J. F. Weber

The latest in Jordi Savall’s series of oversize bound books adopts a theme not unlike the earlier entries devoted to the history, culture, and religions of the Mediterranean world. “War and Peace” is an anniversary observance of the period from 1614 to 1714, which he characterizes as a century of unending war. The two main conflicts are the Thirty Years’ War from 1618 to 1648 and the War of the Spanish Succession from 1701 to 1714, but the period embraces the English struggle to subdue Ireland; the English Puritan-Cavalier religious strife, beginning with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 and concluding with the accession of William of Orange in 1689; the Ottoman Empire’s advance through Hungary from 1613 to the siege of Vienna in 1683, along with wars against Russia and Venice; and Catalonia’s struggle for independence. Six essays by different authors discuss aspects of the era, with chronologies included in two of them. The wars come to an end momentarily with the Peace of Prague in 1635, the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678, the Treaty of Turin in 1696, and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714. All those treaties hardly suggest how brief the cessations of conflict really were.

Over two and a half hours of music mark the events, the program of selections given shape by the historical narratives. Turkish music punctuates the Ottoman campaigns, an Aramaic lament marks the massacre of Jews in Frankfurt in 1613, and composers from all the countries involved are represented by occasional pieces. The largest pieces mark the treaties: Schein’s Zion spricht for the Peace of Prague, Rosenmüller’s Siehe an die Werke Gottes for the Peace of Westphalia, Lully’s Jubilate Deo for the Peace of the Pyrenees, Charpentier’s Te Deum (H.146, beginning only) for the Treaty of Turin, and Handel’s Jubilate for the Treaty of Utrecht. Lully’s work is the most extended, with all the other musical selections uniformly brief.

Most of the music was recorded for the purpose in the last two years, but some appropriate selections have been drawn from previous releases, all precisely documented in the notes. As with all these books, the essays and texts appear in six languages, enhanced by lavish color reproductions of photographs, documents, and works of art. Like the previous books from Alia Vox, this makes another easy choice to present as a gift, perhaps to a graduate ready to expand his horizons. Get one for yourself, too.


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