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Latino Gold
see end of review for track listing
Miloš Karadaglić (guitar)
+Ksenija Sidorova (accordion)
#Anna Prohaska (soprano)
*Studioorchester der Europäischen FilmPhilharmonie / Christoph Israel
rec. St Mary's Church, Chilham, England, November 2011 and March 2012; B-sharp Studio, Berlin, February 2012; Meistersaal, Berlin, January 2013.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1421 [79:39]

This is a 'special edition' of young Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić's big-selling 'Latino' album. It features eight new tracks plus a re-arrangement of Piazzolla's Libertango to incorporate an accordion. In Karadaglić's effusive words, it was doing the global 'Latino' tour that he "realised that I had some more to say. Whether it is the four famous Latin songs arranged so masterfully by Sergio Assad, Steve Goss' magical version of the soundtrack from The Motorcycle Diaries, legendary 'Aria Cantilena' and the incomparable voice of Anna Prohaska, or the brand new recording of 'Libertango' with my gorgeous friend Ksenija Sidorova, Latino GOLD aims to add new tone and colour to the repertoire which has become such a big part of my musical life."
 
It is easy to be cynical about an album like this. Much recycled material from an already very recent release, the latest pin-up 'classical' superstar, another collection of three-minute lollipops in dodgy arrangements - all of this is a path well trodden by Deutsche Grammophon and its marketeers.
 
On the other hand, Karadaglić - simply "Miloš", in industry parlance - is without question a very fine guitarist, and although there are a few old chestnuts to be found in this recital; although this is a supremely relaxing hour's worth of music that will please the crossover hordes who will rush off as DG intended to buy this, the recital is a thoroughly genial one, with even the opening half a dozen pieces, all drawn from various levels of pop culture, dignified by Karadaglić's charismatic tone-colourings and thoughtful phrasing.
 
The arrangements too are actually unfailingly elegant, coming as they do from two eminent guitarists, Sérgio Assad and Stephen Goss. That elegance even extends to a highly concertinaed version of Ravel's Bolero "as you have never heard it before." About which: "When you think of Ravel’s Bolero, it is not something you would ever think of on the guitar …" No one will be more surprised by Karadaglić's 'revelation' than the countless guitarists that have been playing the Bolero in a multitude of arrangements for decades - there are even commercial recordings!
 
Though 'Latino Gold' does contain, unaltered, a good deal of what appeared on 'Latino', there is also an extra 20 minutes of music on the CD, which can also be bought with a 35-minute bonus DVD - this presumably for those that want to swoon over Karadaglić. On the other hand, his DG-debut disc, rather unimaginatively titled 'The Guitar' (4779693, released in 2011), remains a better bet for those wanting to hear something more substantial - Albéniz, Tárrega, Granados, Domeniconi and more.
 
Sound quality is excellent, apart from the ensemble strings, which have a rather 'lossy' edge. The featured orchestra is not one of the big names, to put it mildly, but in fairness, its contribution is minimal and what it is asked to do, it does fairly well.
 
The booklet notes provide detail on the music that may exceed a cynic's expectations, but there are interwoven Karadaglić soundbites to contend with, such as the de rigueur assurance that art music is by nature strict and academic: "When I was a student at the Royal Academy, everyone was totally mad about Piazzolla, perhaps because his music felt like an escape from the rigours of classical training."
 
The photography is over the top: eleven colour pictures, all showing much the same thing - a pensive or smiling Karadaglić in a black or white shirt or jacket in black or white trousers, with or sans guitar. These may well leave the buyer wondering whether DG's CDs would come a bit cheaper if less money were spent in that particular department. On the other hand, as Karadaglić never seems to go anywhere without a photographer, DG do have to do something with all those images. Ironically, one thing the label did not spend money on was a translation of the notes into Spanish or Portuguese for Latino listeners.
 
Byzantion
Collected reviews and contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk
 

Track listing
Ástor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
*+Libertango (arr. Christoph Israel, Stephen Goss and Ksenija Sidorova) [3:04]
*Oblivion (arr. Christoph Israel and Stephen Goss) [4:17]
Jorge BEN (b.1942)
Mas que Nada (arr. Sérgio Assad) [3:08]
Consuelo VELAZQUEZ (1916-2005)
Bésame Mucho (arr. Sérgio Assad) [3:29]
Antonio Carlos JOBIM (1927-1994)
The Girl from Ipanema (arr. Sérgio Assad) [3:19]
Armando Manzanero CANCHE (b.1935)
Somos Novios (arr. Sérgio Assad) [4:07]
Gustavo SANTAOLALLA (b.1951)
De Ushuaia a la Quiaca (from: 'The Motorcycle Diaries' soundtrack, arr. Stephen Goss) [3:23]
Isaias SAVIO (1900-1978)
Batucada [2:59]
Jorge MOREL (b.1931)
Danza Brasilera (sic) [3:12]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Prelude no.1 in E minor [4:33]
#Aria (Cantilena) [5:42]
Jorge CARDOSO (b.1949)
Milonga [4:47]
Roland DYENS (b.1955)
Tango en Skaï [2:26]
Carlos GARDEL (1890-1935)
*Por una Cabeza (arr. Christoph Israel and Stephen Goss) [2:35]
Agustín BARRIOS (1885-1944)
Un Sueño en la Floresta [7:21]
Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios [3:21]
Leo BROUWER (b.1939)
Un Día de Noviembre [4:26]
Osvaldo FARRÉS (1903-1985)
*Quizás, Quizás, Quizás (arr. Christoph Israel and Stephen Goss) [3:15]
Manuel PONCE (1882-1948)
Scherzino Mexicano [2:47]
Andante [4:10]
Gerardo MATOS (1900-1948)
La Cumparsita (arr. Stephen Goss) [3:48]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Bolero (arr. Steven Baker and Stephen Goss) [3:02]





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