Balbi, Brentner, Bassani, Januario, anon.

COMPOSERS: Anon.,Balbi,Bassani,Brentner,Januario
LABELS: Channel
ALBUM TITLE: Bolivian Baroque
WORKS: Music from the Missions and La Plata: works by Balbi, Brentner, Bassani, Januario and anon.
PERFORMER: Arakaendar Bolivia Choir, Florilegium/Ashley Solomon
When Florilegium parted company with us at the end of its first Bolivian adventure it had opened ears with music by Zipoli and the ever-prodigal Anon. Vol. 2 continues the journey with higher ambition: to the native soloists of Vol. 1 is added a specially-created Bolivian Chamber Choir, allies in the first complete recording of Bassani’s Missa Encarnacion. It’s a concise, eminently appealing setting, here summoned by bells, freshly sung (to carp at the rare rough edge is to miss the point), while Ashley Solomon directs with a light but shapely touch. Just as joyous is Brentner’s ‘Gloria et honore’, and the collections of the Jesuit Missions and La Planta yield a rich crop of arias, villancicos and sonatas. The opening Sonata IX by Balbi goes off like a firecracker, Florilegium at its lithe, incisive best; the concluding folksong, meanwhile adds local colour with the fiddle of Don Januario by way of introduction to the group’s ‘signature’ arrangement. Among the Bolivian soloists Henry Villea’s pliant tenor anchors the vocal ensembles and relishes a decidedly chirpy setting of ‘Quis me a te sponse separabit’. Even more impressive than Vol. 1 this ‘mission statement’ is a must. Spread the word! Paul Riley