The liner notes for this record explain the connection between the writer and poet Miguel de Cervantes, creator of Don Quixote, and the music and dances presented here. Jordi Savall takes citations from these literary works as cues for creating the catalogue of dances he wants to play.
The time of Cervantes was also the golden age of Spain. This is the time of Philip II, his religious wars, but also the time of the Spanish empire at its biggest. A time of great religious strength, when Philip builds his monastery-palace El Escorial near Madrid, showing the strong connection between church and state at the time.
In my country this is the time of the birth of our nation. The Netherlands are born in the fight against this Spanish empire and its formidable armies. We have all been raised with the image of this huge struggle against a foreign oppressor. In Spanish eyes this is completely reversed: our enemies were their heroes, our struggle was their pain. For the arts this was a great time in both countries though, and Savall is right in choosing this history as backdrop for this collection of songs and dances.
The surface of this record has been badly damaged by the outside packaging. I saw a youtube about this some time ago. I was using a PVC outside cover to protect the record. For this series of articles, when I want to listen to the new record from my collection, I remove all protection first. I want to see the cover in all its unprotected glory. Sometimes that reveals some extra information I like to share sometimes funny inserts drop out. In this case I saw the PVC outside had some wrinkling. From the youtube I learnt that that is a sign that the PVC has been ‘breathing’, shedding some of its contents into its surroundings.
That means the record’s surface might be damaged, and yes, it turned out it was. I tried cleaning it, but to no avail. PVC particles are now glued to the surface. I cannot hear it, I’m glad to say. Needless to say, I got rid of the PVC cover and replaced it with one made from polystyrene. Those are my protective covers that I’m using for the last ten years.
So, collectors out there: do not use PVC anywhere near your record collection.