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Awards issue 2010)
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Alia Vox

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Appréciation d'ensemble / Overall evaluation :

Reviewer: Fabrice Fitch

Hesperion XXI’s recent recordings have seen it strike out in many different directions beyond Europe, in collaboration with local ensembles encountered on tour. Here the European musicians team up with Tembembe Ensemble Continuo, which specialises in “the links between the Spanish Baroque and contemporary music in Mexico and Latin America”, extending into the Caribbean. It’s a wide geographical area but also a wide range of styles, blending classical and popular idioms with an ease and naturalness that would leave most crossover artists green with envy (the opening track sounds for ah die world like a Baroque version of “La bamba”). There are improvised elements but the substance derives from written materials originating in Latin America.

Although it is surely superfluous to speak of “authenticity”, the reaction of a Peruvian friend of mine on hearing the “Cachuas” was certainly telling: the performances have a dash and abandon that are genuinely convincing. One or two of the solo improvisations show a tendency to lapse into cliché; otherwise, of Savall’s recent projects this seems the least calculated or willed. The sense of occasion and spontaneity of a live recording is conveyed without artifice. As ever with Alia Vox’s productions, presentation is lavish, the booklet very informative and sumptuously illustrated.



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