Music of Renaissance Spain
The Terra Nova Consort
For nearly 500 years, specific borders and alliances and names of rulers and their kingdoms shifted almost continually in Iberia, but the peninsula remained basically divided into two roughly equal halves: a northern section of occasionally cooperating, more frequently competing Christian kingdoms (Leon, Castile, Navarre, Aragon, Portugal), and a southern section ruled by several dynasties of Muslim caliphs and emirs, which they called Al-Andalus. While the northern Christian kingdoms looked to the rest of Europe for their cultural identity, Al-Andalus developed its own independent identity, separated in many ways even from the rest of the Muslim world by remaining loyal to the Umayyad dynasty after it was overthrown in Damascus by the 'Abbasids in the 740s. During the halcyon days of the independent Umayyad caliphate in Spain, its capital, Cordoba, was a city of half a million inhabitants and one of the greatest seats of culture and learning anywhere in medieval Europe, a culturally diverse place where Muslim, Christian, and Sephardic Jewish scholars, scientists, artists, poets, and musicians all were welcomed and able to work together and learn from each other.
Or so the legend now goes. Examining the record always demonstrates that "the good old days" were never quite as golden as they appear in retrospect and that many of the problems facing human relations now were equally present in the past.
- Kurt-Alexander Zeller
Dorian Recordings & Dorian Discovery
are distributed in Australia by Rockian Trading