Celso GARRIDO-LECCA (b. 1926)
Danzas populares andinas, (Andean Folk Dances) (1983) [13.08]
Retablos sinfónicas (Symphonic Tableaux) (1980) [19.02]
Suite peruana (Peruvian Suite) (1986) [8.21]
Laudes II (1994) [13.43]
Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra/Miguel Harth-Bedoya
rec. NRK Store Studio, Oslo, September 2015 - March 2016, Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, Texas, 29-31 October 2010 (live).
NAXOS 8.573759 [54.14]

This is, by modern standards, a very brief CD, but one with instantly attractive music from a composer, not widely known outside his native Peru. All pieces are world première recordings, made on different dates.

Most of Garrido-Lecca’s life has been spent in South America – he studied at the National Conservatory in Lima and the University of Chile in Santiago. Scholarships to New York were won, and in 1964 he studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.

It is not too fanciful to say that one senses the influence of Copland in works such as Danzas populares andinas, with their use of folk-inspired music. The sound-world is perhaps gentler than Copland’s, but for those who like Copland in his popular style, there is much to enjoy here, in delicate orchestration and similar idiom. Though Garrido-Lecca has used serial techniques, his mature development has concentrated on use of indigenous styles.

The Retablos sinfónicas begin more conventionally in symphonic style, but some use material from various Peruvian sources. The composer states his wish ‘to provide a formal structure while exploring possibilities of orchestral colour.’ Though there is much percussion in the pieces (timpani, suspended symbols, triangle, tom-tom drums, tenor drum, pandareta, snare drum, tam-tam, bass drum, bongo drums, crash cymbals and xylophone, as well as a cajón, a box-drum played with the hands), the overwhelming character of the pieces is lyrical even, in part, elegiac.

The Suite peruviana uses both dance and song forms, to enjoyable effect. The six movements are varied and continually interesting. Laudes II, from the Latin ‘laudare’, ‘to praise’, has a quite different inspiration and intention, more intense and less ‘public’ in utterance, more consciously ‘modern’, but significant and, especially in the first movement, intensely meditative. The music is designed to reflect a quotation from Lao-Tzu: “The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao, the name that can be named is not the eternal name.” The three movements are still colourful, with interesting parts for horn and trumpet in the third movement.

Performances are committed and insightful. Miguel Harth-Bedoya here is working with orchestras of which he is Chief or Principal Conductor, including the troubled Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Both orchestras are responsive. Recording quality is acceptable, and useful notes have been provided.

Little of Garrido-Lecca’s music is available, though his Cello Concerto can be downloaded. The material is so enjoyable that it would be wonderful if Naxos – or someone – would record more.

Michael Wilkinson

Previous review: Rob Barnett
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