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Canciones Españolas (Spanish Songs)

Barbara Hendricks & Love Derwinger

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Album Review

Recorded in 2003 and 2005, this was the debut release for African-American-Swedish soprano Barbara Hendricks' new label, Arte Verum. Hendricks' recordings for the label, accompanied here and elsewhere by Swedish pianist Love Derwinger, have been consistently interesting and often powerful, informed by a deep personal commitment to the music performed. This one has the personal component; it is dedicated to the late Victoria de los Angeles and includes a lovely performance of one of her trademark numbers, the Catalan folk song El cant dels ocells. The program is absorbing, featuring five composers linked by their engagement with the Iberian folk and popular heritage, but with distinctly different takes on that heritage and on the possibility of combining it with influences from the European mainstream. Hendricks sets the artless semi-popular melodies of Fernando J. Obradors against the dense Impressionist evocations of Cuba in the music of Xavier Montsalvatge with beautiful effect. With the humorous and romantic Tonadillas and Canciones amatorias of Enriqué Granados, she is in her element. All this said, this was something of an odd choice for a debut. Hendricks has often given concerts in the Spanish-speaking world, and one can only conclude that audiences there find her accent charming; it's pretty strange, and the texts at times are barely recognizable. Or perhaps it's that there's a certain groove into which most performances of Falla's Siete canciones populares españolas fall, and Hendricks avoids this; perhaps her performances for Spaniards are refreshingly exotic. She is less a fiery singer of flamenco music that a Frenchwoman sampling Spanish flavors. Offbeat rather than revelatory, this is a recording that can be recommended to Hendricks fans and perhaps to those interested in fresh approaches to the Iberian repertory. All texts, including the excellent booklet essay by Javier Palacio, are given in Spanish (or Catalan), French, German, and English.~James Manheim, Rovi

Biography

Born: 20 November 1948 in Stephens, AR

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Soprano Barbara Hendricks has released several collections of vocal favorites, including albums devoted to gospel music (Sings Spirituals), Christmas (Chante de Noel), the music of George...
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Canciones Españolas (Spanish Songs), Barbara Hendricks
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