Los Pájaros Perdidos

LABELS: Virgin
ALBUM TITLE: Los Pájaros Perdidos
WORKS: Spanis and Latin American folk songs and works by Soler, Diaz, etc
PERFORMER: Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor), Lucilla Galeazzi, Luciana Mancini, Vincenzo Capezzuto (voice), Raquel Andueza (soprano); L’Arpeggiata/ Christina Pluhar (direction)
CATALOGUE NO: 678 5162


While researching Andean folk-music back in the 1960s, early-music virtuoso David Munrow concluded that still-living traditions could inform our understanding of how music was performed in the past. These ideas are echoed by Christina Pluhar in her booklet notes. She also discusses how plucked instruments in South America today are similar to their equivalents – the lute, guitar and harp – in the European Baroque. Indeed, there were no plucked instruments in South America before Iberian colonisation. A European heritage is also reflected in songs and dances, which are close to Baroque models. This collection is designed to illustrate how these musical forms developed a polyrhythmic dimension through the inter-breeding of Indian, Spanish, and African cultures.

L’Arpeggiata’s performances are always technically impeccable, heartfelt and often rather beautiful. But here, as with their 2006 album, Los Impossibles, I find several compositions and arrangements a touch too slick. There are some considerable pleasures, though, including Lincoln Almada’s exuberant arpa llanera, Doron Sherwin’s scintillating cornetto, and some fine singing, not least from countertenor Phillippe Jaroussky. It’s just a pity that these were not displayed through more riveting repertoire.


Barry Witherden