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CARLOS V Mille Regretz : La Cancion del Emperador
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Reference: AVSA9814

  • La Capella Reial de Catalunya
  • Hespèrion XXI
  • Jordi Savall

To recall in the space of 75 minutes of music the essential experiences in the life of Charles V and, at the same time, draw closer to a period of such profound significance for our own modern history, are objectives that we can achieve only through a selection of the most significant music that was loved and listened to by the protagonists of the age. In the words of Elias Canetti, “Music is the true living history of humankind, and we put our faith in it because what it says relates to our feelings”. And so it will be the courtly music, the spiritual music and also the popular music that will enlighten us as to the lights and shadows of an age marked by Humanism and the Renaissance, by discovery and war.

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To recall in the space of 75 minutes of music the essential experiences in the life of Charles V and, at the same time, draw closer to a period of such profound significance for our own modern history, are objectives that we can achieve only through a selection of the most significant music that was loved and listened to by the protagonists of the age. In the words of Elias Canetti, “Music is the true living history of humankind, and we put our faith in it because what it says relates to our feelings”. And so it will be the courtly music, the spiritual music and also the popular music that will enlighten us as to the lights and shadows of an age marked by Humanism and the Renaissance, by discovery and war. Music from Burgundy, Germany, Spain and Italy, since let us not forget that Charles V, King of Spain and last Western Emperor, was born in Burgundy, brought up in the Low Countries, succeeded to the German Crown, was Emperor of the Romans and had constant dealings with Italians, and was fluent in Spanish, French, Flemish and German.

Of all these musical expressions, none could capture and express as aptly as Josquin’s song “Mille regretz”, the so-called “Song of the Emperor”, the singularly melancholy character and the profound sense of sadness which, during the last years of his life and despite the Emperor’s absolute faith and trust in God, had invaded the spirits of the first and last great Emperor of Europe.

Jordi Savall
San Francisco, January, 2000.

Translated by Jacqueline Minett