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Matheo Romero: Romerico Florido

Romero / Cappella Mediterranea / Garcia-alarcon
Release Date: 02/08/2011 
Label:  Ricercar   Catalog #: 308   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia AlarconMariana FloresFabian SchofrinFernando Guimaraes,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



M. ROMERO Romances, tonos humanos, folías, letrillas, canciones Léonardo García-Alarcón, dir; Ens Clematis; Cappella Mediterranea RICERCAR 308 (61:01 Text and Translation)


Referring to Matheo Romero (1575–1647), born Mathieu Rosmarin, as “the last of the international Netherlanders” as Grove I does is a bit of a stretch. At the age of 10, upon his father’s death, the composer’s family left for Read more Madrid, where he sang as a boy soprano in the Royal Chapel. Romero remained a fixture of the Spanish court for the rest of his life. He was a greatly appreciated one, too: chaplain to Philip III, capellán de Banco , clerk of the Order of the Golden Fleece, capellán de los Reyes Nuevos de Toledo , and he even received a remunerative but non-residential chaplain post from Portugal’s João IV. A reputation for arrogant behavior that earned him the nickname of “El Maestro Capitán” didn’t prevent Romero from being the most rewarded Spanish composer of his age.


Much of his music (and that of many other Iberian composers) was lost in a fire that destroyed the Madrid royal palace’s music archives and library in 1734, and a 1755 earthquake that leveled Lisbon, including João IV’s library—reputedly one of the largest in the world, with an enormous holding of scores in manuscript. Of Romero’s 31 known surviving secular works, the largest number can be found in the so-called Cancionero de la Sablonara , named after the Spanish court’s music copier. The work was prepared for Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuberg, then resident at the court, and a great admirer of the modern Italians. (More of this in a moment, but significantly Wolfgang Wilhelm’s own court had as its music director Biagio Marini, one of Monteverdi’s more distinguished students.) The manuscript currently resides at the Bavarian City Library of Munich.


Stylistically, most of Romero’s compositions are in the new Italian manner, at a time when the Spanish court had major holdings in the Italian States, and cultural exchange was a constant affair. This is no more apparent than in Entre dos mansos arroyos , a romance for four voices. The text contrasts a bucolic scene of two bubbling streams, and a woeful viewer who can only focus on the cold heart of his beloved. Romero sets this division in the starkest of terms. The lighter part is harmonically mercurial, quickly progressing circularly from E Major to an unexpected E?-Major, with imitative, overlapping cells, deliberately parsed so as to confuse the beat. The heavier section is slower, almost entirely homophonic, and metrically regular. The two are repeatedly juxtaposed to theatrical effect, creating a striking Monteverdi-like instance of a mini-cantata or opera.


But the influence in Romero’s music that will strike modern ears most, perhaps, is that of its Spanish folk content. This can be heard most noticeably in the second part of Ay que me muero de cellos , its rhythm that of a zamba (not a samba ; totally different), in the brief, zapateado -like section of Fatigada navecilla , and in Romerico florido , with its constantly shifting rhythms, and its typical, almost stereotypical, Iberian obsession with the minor tonic and the seventh below.


Some of the other instances of Spanish rhythms on this album, however—in En una playa amena and Aquella Hermosa aldeana , for instance—leave me unconvinced. The musical lines woven above them reveal no such rhythmic influence, and as percussion was left unstated in manuscripts, it’s not difficult to see where Ensemble Clematis might have felt it useful to italicize the nationalistic aspects of their adopted countryman’s works.


Whatever the case, this potential anachronism pales before stylish performances of such virtuosity and self-assurance. The Clematis folks seem to have gotten over their belief, exhibited in a release of Carlo Farina’s dazzling music on Ricercar 285 (reviewed in Fanfare 33:3), that all early music is synonymous with sluggish tempos and smoothed out dynamics. Here they respond with high spirits, sharp accents, and a clear appreciation for Romero’s complex rhythms. Perhaps this change of view derives from their association with Cappella Mediterranea, who provide not merely the disc’s four featured vocalists but overall direction under the group’s founder, Léonardo García-Alarcón. There’s an intensely expressive component to the singers’ tight, wonderfully blended sound that can also be heard in their recording of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Ambronay 22).


With excellent sound, full texts, and translations, this album is definitely recommended for listeners eagerly seeking out the dramatic insights of the seconda pratica and the sonorities of Spanish folk music. Just keep in mind that some of the latter are due to the outstanding performances.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Entre dos mansos arroyos by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 7 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2.
Folia a 2, for voice & ensemble ("Romerico Florido") by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ), Mariana Flores ()
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3.
Coraçon donde estuvistes by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Fabian Schofrin (), Fernando Guimaraes (), Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ),
Mariana Flores ()
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
4.
Hermosas y enjojadas by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
5.
A la dulce risa del alva by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
6.
Ay que me muero de zelos by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Capucine Keller (), Mariana Flores (), Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 0 Minutes 46 Secs. 
7.
Las eridas de Medoro by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
8.
Aquella hermosa aldeana, romance for 4 voices by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
9.
En este inbierno frío, cancíon for 3 voices by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Mariana Flores (), Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ), Fabian Schofrin ()
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
10.
Caiase de un espino by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Renaissance 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
11.
Volarás, pensamiento mío, cancíon for 3 voices by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Mariana Flores (), Fernando Guimaraes (), Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ),
Capucine Keller ()
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
12.
Fatigada navecilla, romance for 4 voices by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
13.
En una playa amena, cancíon for 3 voices by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Fabian Schofrin (), Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
14.
Pescador que das al mar by Mateo Romero
Performer:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon (Organ)
Conductor:  Leonardo Garcia Alarcon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Clematis
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
Date of Recording: 07/2010 
Venue:  Beaufays, église Saint-Jean l'évangélist 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Entre dos mansos arroyos (Between 2 Quiet Streams)
Romerico florido
Coracon, donde estuvistes?
Hermosas y enjojadas
A la dulce risa del alva (Ah the Sweet Smile of the Dawn)
Ay, que me muero de zelos: 1a parte
Ay, que me muero de zelos: 2a parte
Las eridas de Medoro
Aquella hermosa aldeana
En este inbierno frio
Caiase de un espino
Volaras, pensamiento mio
Fatigada navecilla
En una playa amena
Pescador, que das al mar

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