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Manuel de FALLA El Amor Brujo
Seis Canciones
Teresa Berganza (mezzo)
Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico/Elias Arizcuren
Recorded Amsterdam Aug 2000 (PGW)
AMBROISIE AMB 9908 [65 48]

This CD from Ambroisie bids to become one of the most popular recordings by Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico. The Octet has enjoyed a long relationship with Channel Classics with the commissioning and recording of many innovative new works. Some of these were heard live at Strasbourg and it is a cause for regret that, though based in Amsterdam, not so far away, they have not to my knowledge been heard in UK. They have demonstrated, again and again, that the cello is the most self sufficient of non-keyboard instruments, and that eight cellos can do nearly as much as a whole orchestra.

All the music is given in arrangements by Elias Arizcuren and Niko Ravenstijn. Falla's Love the Magician was first heard in 1915 with 15 instruments (5 strings, 4 winds, piano & percussion) and has as much Spanish character and punch on cellos alone as you could wish. Arrangements of everything for anything have been all the rage around the Millennium to bring novelty into the catalogues and this is a thoroughly worthy, if unexpected, one. The well known Granados 12 Tonadillas were first given (with piano) in 1913, and represent the world of ordinary people, celebrating love and its hazards. Jesus Guridi (1886-1961) was an important Basque composer, a post-romantic nationalist, anti-avant-gardist.

Teresa Berganza has been associated with all this music for many decades and brings all her flair and authentic style, if not the bloom of youth, to her singing, which can be sampled at But it is this fresh recreation of El Amor Brujo which makes the CD well worth considering. See also my review of Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico 's recording of Villa-Lobos & Nobre.

Peter Grahame Woolf

In the UK Ambroisie are distributed by Discovery Records, Nursteed Road, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 3DY +44(0)1380 728000 fax +44(0)1380 722244

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