> Baroque Indien K 617 101 [GH]: Classical Reviews- March 2002 MusicWeb-International

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ANON Puntete (Chant Populiare Guaray) ;ANON Regina Coeli ; ZIPOLI (1688-1728) Ave Maris Stella and Beatus Vir by ;Johann BRENTNER (1689-1742) Cantemus Domino Jose VALAZQUEZ (fl.c.1750) Nino Mio; Jose de CAMPDERROS (c.1750-1802) Mass Extracts ; HANDEL Organ Concerto In F Major;
J.S. BACH Sinfonia Douverture De La Cantata
Chorus and Orchestra Juvinil de Urubicha & Ensemble Instrumental et vocal du Festival International de Sarrebourg conducted by Rubein Dario Suarez-Arana and Juan-Franck Anselme and Jean Claude Malgoire. Organ solo Francis Chapelet
Recorded at the Cathedral du Sucre Bolivia, April 1998 and at the church of Saint-Barthelémy Sarrebourg, Brussels in May 1999
K 617 101 [79.12]


Experience Classicsonline

What does the title of this CD mean to you? I immediately turned to a recording on Teldec entitled 'Mexican Baroque' thinking that this might also be South American music of the 17th and I8th Centuries. But no, this CD comprises Baroque music played by Bolivian musicians all hailing form the village of Irubicha a remote village some 330 kilometres from the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

The CD booklet, which is adorned with several attractive black and white photos is entirely in French, so I have had to carefully piece my way through the extraordinary story of the nomadic tribe known as the Guarayos which received a group of Jesuit missionaries in 1692, led by one Padre Walter Neuwith, who brought with them the Christian culture, converted the tribe to Catholicism and discovered that they were an extraordinarily talented musical people. The Jesuits taught them the prevailing Latin Church music popular at the time but did not expunge the native music and the indigenous instruments. Sporadic contacts continued with the Jesuits after 1800 and churches were constructed. The booklet quotes one Alcide dOrbigny who in 1831, after a visit to the village, wrote, in my own translation, "We attended a grand Mass with Italian music. It was a considerable surprise to hear such music sung by the Indians and it was preferable to what we had heard in the richer towns." He continues, saying that there was "an organ and a number of violins I heard this music with ravishment; nowhere in all America have I witnessed anything more beautiful." Well, he would delighted to know that the Guarayos people have kept the tradition alive in Urubicha.

Some of this music (the booklet does not tell us exactly which) was recorded at the Cathedral in the city of Sucre which is in the Eastern foothills of the Andes, as part of a festival concert. There is some audience noise. The background to the concert and the one recorded in Brussels is set out in the booklet but there is no information about the music and the composers and no texts are given.

In fairness you are unlikely to buy this CD because of the actual music on it, which is not so unusual, or indeed for the performances, but for its curiosity value. The instrumental playing is good and some of it full of considerable charm and appropriate character, however the choral work is not so good, with poor intonation in the Regina Coeli and the Cantemus Domino. The soloists are generally effective and give a strong lead. They are the sopranos Maria Alicia Vaubaza, Rosa Papu, Theophanie Fredrich and Nicole Braun in the Bolivian recorded pieces and a further list of Claire Decaux, Benedicte Tauran with Aline Metzingen and Jean-Bernard Arbeit baritone, in the Sarrebourg recording. Jean-Claude Malgoire, a renown baroque specialist, obviously takes the whole project to his heart and is no doubt responsible for the fascinating programming.

The performances are fresh lively and full of character.

Personally my favourite track is the Bolivian traditional piece [track 1] with its accompaniment of percussion and violins and the Mass extracts which are simply the Kyrie and Gloria from a work which is standard late-baroque but which is quite delightful. I will just add that the Mass, at almost eighteen minutes, is the longest track on the CD. I am delighted to say that it has eight index points corresponding with the sectionalised nature of the text. If only more companies would use this system.

Gary Higginson



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