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Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Mediterraneo
see end of review for performer details
L`Arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar
rec. Institut Cultural Roumain de Paris, Salle Byzantine, Palais de Béhague, Paris. October 2012.
Full track-listing at end of review
VIRGIN CLASSICS 464 5472 [CD: 66:13 + DVD: 27:00]

This alluringly designed CD extends its charms to what we see and what we hear. Christina Pluhar’s essay in the de-luxe booklet bound into the disc case is prefaced with the words “The sea does not separate cultures, it connects them”. That aptly sets the scene. The sea in question is the Mediterranean. A quibble: while Portuguese players and music are included Portugal does not have a Mediterranean coastline.
 
More significantly, the music is made by an ensemble using a varying collage of instruments and voices. Traditional plucked instruments of the Mediterranean region play a signal role here: qanun, saz, Greek lyre and lavta, oud and Portuguese guitar. The arrangements feel impeccably authentic and are always airily yet closely done. The range is marked out by what sound like unfiltered folk influences and by an aftertaste of medieval balladry. There is nothing fusty here and the playing and singing wear their sophistication lightly.
 
We range from the Fado tradition, referenced by Misia, through the whirling Greek acceleration of Hasapiko to the wayward charms of the Turkish Hicaz mandira and the wild-eyed Pizzica di San Vito. The instrumentation is kaleidoscopically varied with much play from guitar, harpsichord and psaltery. Breathily seductive singing meets what feels like a sinuous Moroccan sway in Amygdalaki tsakisa and Thalassa lypisou. The Catalonian song La dama d’Arago is cool and lithe. The steadily paced singing by Nuria Rial recalls that of Netania Davrath in the Canteloube Auvergne songs. A similar effect rises from the pages of the Mallorcan song De Santanyi vaig partir. The sensuously smoky voice of Misia returns for Rosa Negra, O Pajem and for Amor De Mel which might easily have escaped from a Jacques Brel concert. It does have a hint of Piaf too but blended with the sort of guttural vitality to be heard in the most throat-rasping singing in El Amor Brujo. The improvisation Gunes & ay for qanun and saz (two guitar-like instruments) almost breaks concentration with bluesy elements spun into the fabric; the same goes for Sfessania. Vincenzo Capezzuto’s glorious voice adapts like a chameleon to the variegated language. He can be heard in duet with trumpet in Agapimu.
 
There is a bonus DVD included in the de-luxe edition with tracks for Are mou Rindineddha, Sem saber, Hasapiko, Tres sirenas and a Mediterraneo trailer.
 
This disc is a follow-up to L'Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar’s Virgin Classics issue: Los Pajaros Perdidos- The South American Project.
 
It comes in two versions: de-luxe and not. My description relates to the former.
 
Feel the heat and the cool in an anthology that treats these lovely blooms with respect. Nothing of the jealous scholar or the ivory turret here - only a renewing vibrant charm.
 
Rob Barnett 

Performer details
Soloists
Mísia - Fado (Portugal)
Nuria Rial (soprano) (Catalonia)
Raquel Andueza (soprano) (Spain)
Vincenzo Capezzuto (voice) (Italy)
Katerina Papadopoulou (voice) (Greece)
Daniel Pinto (Portuguese guitar) (Portugal)
Sandro Daniel Fado (guitar) (Portugal)
Sokratis Sinopoulos (lyra) (Greece)
Nikolaos Mermigkas (lavta) (Greece)
Aytaç Dogan (qanun) (Turkey)
Ismail Tunçbilek (saz) (Turkey)

L`Arpeggiata

Christina Pluhar (theorbo)
Doron Sherwin (cornet à bouquin)
Margit Übellacker (psaltery)
Sarah Ridy (baroque harp)
Marcello Vitale (baroque guitar, chitarra battente)
Quito Gato (guitar)
David Mayoral (percussion)
Francesco Turrisi (harpsichord)
Boris Schmidt (double bass)

Full Tracklisting:-
1 Are mou Rindineddha 4:36
Traditional, Canto greco-salentino
Vincenzo Capezzuto, Katerina Papadopoulou
 
2 Sem saber 3:26
Vasco Graça Moura/Carlos Paredes, Portugal
Mísia
 
3 Hasapiko 2:18
Traditional, Greece
 
4 Tres sirenas 3:42
Anon., Neapolitan/Greek/Spanish
Vincenzo Capezzuto, Katerina Papadopoulou, Raquel Andueza
 
5 Hicâz mandira 4:42
Sultan Abdülaziz, Turkey
 
6 Pizzica di San Vito 2:20
Traditional, Salento
Vincenzo Capezzuto
 
7 Amygdalaki tsakisa 4:19
Traditional, Greece
Katerina Papadopoulou
 
8 La dama d’Aragó 3:40
Traditional, Catalonia
Nuria Rial
 
9 Amor de mel, amor de fel 3:06
Amália Rodrigues/Carlos Gonçalves, Portugal
Mísia
 
10 Günes & ay 3:37
Improvisation on qanun & saz, Turkey
Aytaç Dogan & Ismail Tunçbilek
 
11 De Santanyí vaig partir 3:54
Traditional, Mallorca
Nuria Rial
 
12 Rosa negra no meu peito (Fado Corrido) 2:44
Mísia/Fado Corrido, Portugal
 
Mísia
13 Thalassa lypisou 3:34
Traditional/Panayiotis Tountas, Greece
Katerina Papadopoulou
 
14 Oriamu Pisulina 3:06
Traditional, Canto greco-salentino
Vincenzo Capezzuto, Katerina Papadopoulou
 
15 O pájem 3:29
Fernando Teles/Alfredo Marceneiro, Portugal
Mísia
 
16 Sfessania 2:58
Improvisation, Salento
Marcello Vitale
 
17 Agapimu fidela protini 3:08
Traditional, Canto greco-salentino
Vincenzo Capezzuto
 
18 Cantigas de portugueses (Fado Magala) 2:58
Fernando Pessoa/Raul Portela (‘Fado Magala’), Portugal
Mísia
 
19 Los delfines 4:30
Diego Pisador, Spain
Raquel Andueza 

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