Over an extraordinarily fertile half-century, musical polymath Jordi Savall has ranged far and wide, both geographically and from era to era. In this re-issue of a classic 1994 recording on his Alia Vox label he confines himself to the period 1100 to 1400 and in and around the Iberian and French lands that gave rise to the jongleurs and troubadours. Along the way he opens a window onto richly influential traditions of Arabic and Byzantine culture and the way they infused the repertoire that developed for the earliest bowed instruments.

Jordi Savall

Before getting into the historical and contextual nitty gritty it’s worth praising such lively and attractive music, imbued with such a spirit of joy and fantasy, and delivered with a sense of style it would be hard to match. Savall knows this repertoire as well as anyone, and with percussionist Pedro Estevan – a regular colleague – he has created as convincing a recreation of these ancient forms as could be wished for or imagined.

In a sleeve note as readable as it...