A shorter version of this review appeared in the February 2012/1 Download Roundup; I designated it my ‘fun’ recording of the month. I enjoyed hearing it streamed from the Naxos Music Library – listen to it there before purchase, if you can – and had decided to buy it on CD or download when the disc appeared among my review allocation. Enjoyable as it would be as a download, you would be missing the elaborately illustrated and luxurious hardback booklet which comes with the physical disc. That booklet contains the texts and is packed with information – had it not been, I wouldn’t have been able to tell a
zamba from a
samba or known that
la cigarra ofRead more track 16 is a cicada.
With a title that translates as ‘the lost birds’, it’s appropriate to ask how many pieces of music inspired by birds (Spanish
pájaros) can you name apart from Respighi’s
Gli Uccelli? There are plenty of them on this recording – described as a fusion of musical styles, Spanish and Latin-American music from the baroque to the present day, arranged by harpist and director Christina Pluhar. Older listeners might be tempted to think of Edmundo Ros – which I don’t mean disparagingly – and, to be honest, the reference to baroque is a bit of red herring. It’s really the instruments and style that have survived from the ‘baroque’ rather than the actual music.
There’s a wider variety of music here than you might imagine, as the first five tracks will demonstrate. The opening piece is a lullaby, ‘sleep little black boy’, though it’s lively rather than dreamy. The mood changes to the melancholy
zamba on track 2,
Alfonsina and the sea. We’re back to Edmundo Ros territory with the third track,
Montilla, the type of happy/melancholy music that most of us think of as typically South American. Then on track 4 we have one of the instrumental interludes with prominent harp part which punctuate the recording,
pajaro campana, described as a
polca, but hardly what most of us would think of as a polka. You may well find yourself thinking of a better-known song when you hear
el curruchá on track 11 – I won’t spoil it by telling you what.
The centre-piece on track 5 which gives its name to the collection, ‘the lost birds’ is a
canción by Astor Piazzolla. I imagine that his name alone will be enough to convince many readers to go for the recording. It’s vintage Piazzolla and it receives a fine performance with Philippe Jaroussky as soloist – for more about which see the next paragraph.
The performers are a mixed group – Philippe Jaroussky contributes his unusually light counter-tenor voice, but he and the soprano Raquel Andueza are the only singers to be distinguished by the traditional operatic terms: the other vocalists are designated merely ‘voice’ in the booklet, though I’ve given them more conventional designations in the heading. Surprisingly, the blend works very well: in fact, I wouldn’t have recognised Jaroussky as the vocalist in the Piazzolla work on track 5 if I hadn’t seen his name in the booklet. There’s obviously a difference between his voice on track 5 and that of Luciana Mancini on track 6, but there’s no inherent dichotomy of styles between them. Similarly, when the notes on the EMI/Virgin Classics webpage compare Raquel Andueza in
Besame mucho (tr.20), not inappropriately, with Peggy Lee in her sexiest mode there’s another effective crossover of styles.
If you enjoy colourful Latin-American music in a wide range of moods, all appropriately conveyed by the performers, there’s no need to hesitate. The recording sounds impressive even as heard in the relatively restricted bit-rate of the near-CD version of the Naxos Music Library, but it’s infinitely richer and more colourful on CD. Best of all, the physical disc comes encased in that luxury 64-page hardback booklet. I’m not sure why there appear to be two catalogue numbers – both seem to be available at the same price at the time of writing, but perhaps one is a limited edition. My review copy, with the luxury booklet, is on 6785162 – go for that if it’s still available.
It’s quite a while since I nominated a Recording of the Month, as opposed to the Download of the Month which I include in my bi-monthly Download Roundups, but this certainly deserves the accolade.
Los Pajaros Perdidos -The South American ProjectApril 11, 2016By Jennifer D. (Morphettville, SA)See All My Reviews"I first heard this amazing music on the Australian radio station ABC Fm which presents classical music mostly all day. The intensely rhythmic South American instrumentals and folk songs evoked deeply colourful imagery of the region. Sometimes wistful and other times joyous and capturing the heart, it is a beautiful CD which is heard often in my house."Report Abuse
EntertainingDecember 24, 2015By J. Joseph (New York, NY)See All My Reviews"For those classical music lovers who want something lighter to listen to (especially after Mahler and/or Bruckner, both of whom I love), this album fills the bill, It is very melodic, sound is great and very talented people perform. Of course, liking Spanish also helps. Easily 5 stars."Report Abuse
LatinOctober 11, 2014By Patricia N. (Olinda, Victoria)See All My Reviews"Great CD .Christina Pluhar,/ L'Arpeggiata always have good CD's. I particularly love Phillipe Jarousky's track."Report Abuse