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Saturday morning quote #27: Montserrat Figueras

November 25, 2011

Early music aficionados who were paying attention during the late 1970s and up to the present time heard and were inspired by the vast catalog of recordings by Hesperion XX, directed by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras.  Characterized by interesting arrangements, imbued with the spirit of improvisation and, most importantly, conveying a masterfully secure interpretive sense, their recordings set an example for turning dry notes on the page into living breathing music.   Montserrat Figueras possessed an engaging sense of style, always delivered with a warmth of tone that inspired one to hit the replay button time and again.  I recall discovering and listening to recordings of her music with old friend and now highly esteemed luthier Wesley Brandt, who knows what good singing is all about.

Montserrat Figueras (March 15, 1942 – November 23, 2011) passed away this week, leaving the world bereft of a musician whose warmth of spirit shone through every note she sang.  We offer quotes translated from an interview with her dating from March 31, 2010:

We follow one path, we head in the same direction, each of us seeks the same thing in their own way…It’s the need for exploration, deeper analysis of music and cultures which are the reflection of historical civilizations.  Every day we have contact with music.  We have lived together for over 2000 years, everything is ingrained in us, all weaknesses, experiences, adventures, languages that people have got to know – the history of mankind.

This music is like a mirror, it reflects and shows all that was in the past and what we are like now.  Life, too – what it was like in those times.  As vocalists, we have texts which we must express, explain using words.  Words are extremely important.  That’s why, it is in a way the creation of a recipe for music which is not listened to as something new, but as music which has its own history.

It is not enough to listen to it with your ears, you must listen to this music with your soul, your spirit, you listen to it in a different way.  We are lucky because Spain is a melting pot of different cultures.  When you hear music, traditional Spanish music like flamenco – you feel the influence of the East, India, Islam…However, we always express it in out own way, blended with different cultures, with respect and having in mind that it is in our veins.

Thank you, Montserrat, for teaching us to listen with our souls.

One Comment
  1. Of course, several eloquent eulogies have circulated since we posted our short tribute to Montserrat Figueras. This obituary by Andrew Lawrence King, published in the Guardian, a fitting tribute.

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