Via Alex Ross comes the sad news that Montserrat Figueras has died at the young age of 69. The soul of Hesperion XXI and other groups led by her husband, viol pioneer Jordi Savall, she sang with a darkly beautiful soprano both passionate and playful. I never saw Hesperion in concert, which I deeply regret.
You can hear her on some 60 CDs recorded by the Savall Cabal, which include the couple's daughter and son. If you do not know their work, start with Villacicos y Danzas Criollas and Tonos Humanos, then, well, anything from their vast and rich catalog. You can buy directly from Alia Vox, Hesperion's own record label, or elsewhere on the web. I see that there's a set of Monteverdi secular works with Figueras, Andrew Lawrence-King, and Rolf Lislevand; I do not have this, and I will be remedying that shortly.
Here's "Un sarao de la chacona," as infectiously joyful a performance as I've ever heard of anything: