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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ernesto Cordero, Caribbean Concertos for Guitar and Violin. Romero, Figueroa, I Solisti di Zagreb

I imagine that guitarist Pepe Romero and violinist Guillermo Figueroa were pleased to receive the respective dedications from Puerto Rican composer Ernesto Cordero (b. 1946) for the latter's two Caribbean Concertos. They went on to record the works with I Solisti di Zagreb, which is now available in a new release entitled Caribbean Concertos for Guitar and for Violin (Naxos 8.572707).

The two works, "Concierto Festivo" (2003) for guitar, and "Concertino Tropical" (1998) for violin, sandwich a third concerto, here given its world premier, "Insula: Suite Concertante" (1998), again for violin.

In all cases there is a very fluid interaction between the string orchestra and soloist. This is music that tries (successfully) to capture something of the landscape of island Puerto Rico and its natural and cultural comings and goings. It has some of the strong tonal flavors of Spanish speaking-Latin America and a very sunny disposition that relates to the impressionist composers from across the pond. The lightly textured quality of the string orchestra writing helps the music breathe; both Romero's guitar parts and those for Figueroa's violin heighten the impression of dazzling sunlight and movement over the land.

This is some extraordinarily refreshing music, played with care and joy by the soloists and I Solisti. Ernesto Cordero has created three delightful works that explore and transform his musical heritage into rather brilliant musical energy.

Recommended. A Winter Vacation in a jewel box!

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