COMPOSERS: Aguirre,Buchardo & Cura,Ginastera,Guastavino,Herrera,Walsh
WORKS: Works by Guastavino, Ginastera, Aguirre, Walsh, Herrera, Buchardo & Cura
PERFORMER: José Cura (tenor), Ernesto Bitetti (guitar), Eduardo Delgado (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 3984-23138-2
The first surprise is that this disc begins not with José Cura’s voice, but with his music: the expressive chamber-orchestra Prelude to his setting of two sonnets by Neruda. The second surprise is that this leads straight into, not the Sonnets themselves, which are at the other end of the disc, but the first in a group of songs by Carlos Guastavino – one of several segues of a kind more often encountered on pop CDs (and likely to give unprepared radio presenters some anxious moments!). The third surprise is the first hearing of Cura’s voice: not the exciting, full-blooded Italianate tenor which has made such an impact on the operatic world, but an intimate, crooning near-baritone, presenting the Spanish text with loving care.
In fact, the programme consists almost entirely of modest, gentle songs, interspersed with instrumental numbers – with the longest track devoted to a solo piano arrangement of a concert piece by Astor Piazzolla. But the sequence is an enjoyable one, with the song accompaniments nicely varied between piano, Ernesto Bitetti’s mellifluous guitar, and Cura’s own accomplished orchestrations; and it prompts some envy of a musical culture in which classical composers and performers can engage so easily and unselfconsciously with popular styles. All in all, a well presented, well recorded anthology, recommended for uncomplicated late-night enjoyment. Anthony Burton