The following review appeared in the December-January 2001 issue of The Absolute Sound. It is a part of Michael Alan Fox' Golden Ear Awards, where two other CD releases were also reviewed.
This (Música Criolla) features Ariel Ramírez' Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra in performances fully equal to the original recording under the composer's direction (Philips PCC 619 or 6527136), but with the advantage of a glorious recording acoustic. (St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco has been immortalized as a recording venue by Reference Recordings' Star of Wonder (RR-21), picked last issue by Neil Gader among References for its "nearly heavenly envelope of space.") It sounds just as good here. The level of performance for a community chorus is extraordinary, and they are no less authentic than Ramirez' own Argentine singers. For those unfamiliar with them, the works can be described as vernacular sacred music with idiomatic Latin American musical elements. Misa Criolla has become more familiar, but Navidad Nuestra is fully its equal, and its central movement, the lullaby-inspired "El Nacimiento" as sung in this recording by Mimi Ruiz is unutterably lovely.
In the interests of full disclosure I will admit that I have known the choir's director since high-school days, but it would be a great disservice both to friendship and to music if that fact were to prevent me from calling to attention to this brilliant recording. At 46:12, the playing time is stingy; by way of compensation, the CD booklet, in both Spanish and English, is a model of scholarship and of eloquence. It would be instructive reading for those who equate multiculturalism with the coming of the Visigoths.
Ramillete: flowers from field
and garden a garland of choral song from Spain and Latin America
Coro Hispano de San Francisco
Juan Pedro Gaffney R., director
If "Mexican Baroque" has caught your ear, this wide-ranging anthology of choral music from Mexico, Central and South America is a must; it's got Latin American Renaissance, Baroque, Classic, Romantic and folk-originate works in a rich array of textures, styles and sonorities, from chorus-orchestra down to voice-and-guitar, all performed to the nines by the nation's premiere ensemble dedicated to this repertory: Coro Hispano de San Francisco. Brilliant vocal solos and on-target instrumental work by some of the West Coast's leading names in early music combine with foot-stomping Veracruz zapateados and robust, ranchera-style singing in this sampler from a half-dozen different concert programs.
Latin America's choral music is a little-known treasure that's been quietly awaiting rediscovery for decades (or centuries- depending on how far back you want to go). Leading the way in its interpretation is the Coro Hispano de San Francisco, which has been exploring and performing this repertory exclusively since its first concert in 1975. On this disc-its third CD release- the nation's premiere Hispanic chorus turns in an amazingly varied sampling of music for voices and instruments from the cathedrals of Puebla, Lima and Sevilla, the ranchos of Early California, the plazas of Veracruz, all the way to the rain-forest missions of Paraguay and the mountain villages of Nigeria.
Thank you for visiting our site and supporting the music of Coro Hispano de San Francisco and Conjunto Nuevo Mundo.
Corohispano de San Francisco will refund CD purchases for the full amount of the CD price which does not include shipping and handling charges, if returned via us mail within 30 days of purchase.