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Yaniv d’Or: Exaltation

review done yaniv d'or x1 cong

We went to a wedding in Turkey the other weekend — as you do — and then spent a week listening to Tatar music, with artists from Mongolia down to Poland.

And all the time we were hunting out exotic sounds we had this on the desk. It’s a programme of music from Medieval and Baroque Europe, Turkey and the Near East, and includes examples of the Sephardic and Sufi traditions.

The post-Turkey music we were listening to was folk and roots and while this is classical, some of the same instruments appear, notably flute and guitar, but also didgeridoo. No throat singing, alas.

The music would be good on its own but d’Or has a fantastic, haunting voice, and adds atmosphere (he’s a countertenor but sounds “almost like an operatic tenor, but higher,” according to the Jewish Chronicle).

He told that newspaper he called his music “folk baroque”, as most of it dates from the same era as the baroque, but was never written down.

His own ancestors were among the Jews who left Spain in 1492 at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, spread around Turkey, Italy, what was then Constantinople, before settling in Libya. They emigrated to Israel when it was founded in 1948.

His own heritage is in the sound, a Moorish/Spanish sound often figuring (Cantigas De Santa Maria: No 10, Rosa Das Rosas, written in Spain in the 1200s). Elsewhere there is more of an Arab sound, such as in the tender Haven’t I Told You? (Traditional Sufi music, from Turkey).

Exaltation is the third recording in a trilogy by d’Or with Ensemble NAYA. It follows Liquefacta Est released in 2013, which contained settings of the Song of Solomon, and Latino Ladino in 2015, which focused on music of the Sephardic diaspora after the 1492 expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain.

People who like world music will find much to enjoy, as will fans of early music — the didgeridoo at 2,000 years old is a stripling compared to the ney flute played by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia 3,000 years ago. Also featured is the psalterium, invented in the 15th century, and the theorbo, developed during the late 16th century in Italy (as well as a church bell, recorded accidentally on location in Franc-Waret, Belgium).

Out now on Naxos: 8573980.

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