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Brouwer, Gismonti, Guastavino, Piazzolla, Ponce & Villa-Lobo

Brouwer, Gismonti, Guastavino, Piazzolla, Ponce & Villa-Lobo

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John-Henry Crawford writes: "In the summer of 2019, I traveled to Mexico to compete in the IX International Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, and little did I know, the trip would transform my life musically. At the time I was very well acquainted with Latin American music, but after having the great fortune of winning first prize and returning to Mexico multiple times for performances, I fell in love with the music of Latin America, the culture, the history, and the Spanish language. This album takes the listener on a musical tour through Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico. The centerpiece of the program is the Sonata in G minor by Manuel Ponce, who is most famous in the classical world for his song Estrellita popularized by Jascha Heifetz. Ponce was keen to reunite the concert world with Mexican folklore and traditional songs, as listeners can hear in the romantic, longing title-track Por ti mi corazon. Spanning over 140 years of Latin American music culture, this album takes us from Ponce’s unique traditional voice and Villa-Lobos’ Chopinesque style to music by still-living Cuban guitarist Leo Brouwer – his innocent lullaby Cancion de Cuna. Other highlights include Astor Piazzolla’s timeless Oblivion and Le Grand Tango and Egberto Gismonti’s Agua e Vinho. As the title suggests, this music pulls at the heartstrings and exudes romance and passion."

REVIEW:

The title says it all, As cellist Crawford tells us in the liners, it all came about when he came to Mexico to compete in the Carlos Prieto Cello Competition in 2019 and won first prize. His time in Mexico for the initial competition and then return visits for performances kindled a love in the cellist for Latin Ameican music and culture.

The album at hand is the fruit of this budding affection for such things, a kind of musical tour through Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Mexico, covering some 140 years of compositional lyricism and vitality. It centers around Crawford's cello readings of some true gems accompanied quite ably and spiritedly by pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion and guitarist Jiji. Manual Ponce's Sonata for Cello and Piano is the centerpiece of it all and surrounding it are some brilliantly crafted lyrical miniatures by composers we all need to appreciate it seems to me.

So Ponce comes our way through the aforementioned Sonata, the very beautiful and well known "Estralita" in the version here as arranged and made famous by Heifetz and further modified for guitar accompaniment by Jiji. Another Ponce miniature graces the program and we appreciate that as we also get more gems by the likes of Leo Brower, Villa-Lobos, Carlos Quastavino, Egberto Gismonti, and Astor Piazzolla. The Corazon theme applies as much to the repertoire as to Maestro Crawford's engaging affection and devotion to the musical finery we are happy to be inundated with from start to finish.

Maestro Crawford burnishes his sound with a warming glow that suits well the warmth and lovingly insistent lyricism of the entire program. It is excellently played and a font of vibrancy throughout. Heartily recommended for a most engaging romp through Latin American masterpieces. Bravo!

-- Gapplegate Classical Modern Music Review

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Product Description:


  • Release Date: June 17, 2022


  • UPC: 5060189561988


  • Catalog Number: ORC100198


  • Label: Orchid Classics


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Leo Brouwer, Crawford, Egberto Gismonti, Carlos Guastavino, Astor Piazzolla, Manuel María Ponce, Heitor Villa-Lobos


  • Performer: John-Henry Crawford, Victor Santiago Asuncion, JIJI