Encores: Salazar, Saenz, Golijov, Gutierrezby Cuarteto Latinoamericano
The Encores title of this release by the mostly Mexican Cuarteto LatinoAmericano, which specializes in Latin American music for string quartet, is puzzling. Few of the pieces could be described as light crowd-pleasers, and Osvaldo Golijov's "Yiddishbbuk" and Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez's "Cinco para Quatro" are substantial multi-movement works. The Golijov is one of the few pieces of chamber music in that very hot composer's output, and the vigorous performance by the group is worth the price of admission. But beyond these are some real small finds. A group of settings of Mexican songs by Italian bassist/composer Stefano Scodanibbio, entitled (in Italian) "Canzoniere messicano," follows the lines laid down by Luciano Berio in his folk song settings: the tunes are recognizable, but the music is heavily interpreted through changes in timbre and texture. Dispersed through the program as interludes, these have a compelling combination of simplicity and rigor. The program as a whole offers a varied mix of Latin American works, music composed in the U.S. that reflects Latin influences, and a broader Hispanic continuum that looks out as far as Persia in the "Rubaiyat" of Spanish composer Adolfo Salazar. Booklet notes, in English only, are by violinist Saúl Bitrán. Recommended for those with any interest in the contemporary Latin American scene.
- Release Date:
- Dorian Recordings
Performance CreditsCuarteto Latinoamericano Primary Artist
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With 28 years of experience playing string quartets, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano are well-placed to put together a programme like this one. Over the years they've championed (and commissioned or were dedicatees for) many great string quartets by contemporary composers of The Americas. From what I'm sure is a much longer list, they've put together a winning programme of encores for this CD. The Cuarteto Latinoamericano made a big stir lately with their recordings and performances of the complete String Quartets of Villa-Lobos. Here they present a craggy Valsa by Villa's compatriot Radames Gnattali. Roberto Sierra wrote his Mambo 7/16 for the Cuarteto, and they've mastered its tricky rhythms (I'm assuming that took some significant work, even for these accomplished musicians.) The Italian Stefano Scodanibbio is represented by pieces from his Mexican Songbook, which are oddly, and interestingly, twisted versions of Mexican popular songs. I'm sure these are popular as encores, and they're scatted throughout the CD as individual pieces. But I enjoyed listening to them together as a group on my iPod. The five short pieces by Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez that make up Cinco para Cuarto are much more serious in tone. They are dedicated to the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, and are presented here to the best possible effect. Another more solemn work, by Osvaldo Golijov, is the Yiddishbbuk, three lamentations that commemorate child victims of the Nazis at Terezin. This is such powerful music! The programme closes with works by the Mexican Jorge Torres Saenz (another work with tricky rhythms: La Venus se va de juerga), the Spaniard Adolfo Salazar (his exotic Rubaiyat), and the American David Stock (the haunting Suenos de Sefarad). It's all enjoyable and often moving music from an amazing group.