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O Crux
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Gramophone Magazine (01/12/2002)
Marc Rochester

An entertaining British take on rare 19th century Spanish choral music.

Political upheavals in Spain during the 19th century have been overshadowed by those of the 20th century, yet, as Carlos Aransay points out in his fascinating booklet essay, for virtually the entire 19th century political manoeuvrings had an absolutely catastrophic effect on Spanish sacred music. With male religious orders and boys' choirs abolished, music chapels decimated and only ordained priests allowed to perform music in church, it seems astonishing that Aransay has managed to find enough worthwhile music to fill a single disc, let alone as generously as this. Certainly some of this music comes from obscure composers such as Vicente Goicoechea -represented by a sumptuous a cappella setting of "Christus factus est" and a distinguished "Ave Maria" for male voices and organ - and Amadeo Vives, whose decidedly operatic "O Salutaris" provides a splendid vehicle for the vocally red-blooded Debra Skeen. But there is also a surprising number of names whose reputations have been made in very different fields; Albéniz, clearly pre-empting the sacred music of Poulenc in his richly expressive setting of Psalm 6, Arriaga and Granados, both of whom adopt what can be best described as a Mendelssohnian approach, Sor, whose neat exercise in quasi 17th century Italian polyphony gives the disc its title, and Falla, whose richly polyphonic item from his cantata Atlántida is perhaps the one real masterpiece here. Polished and beautifully precise as their singing is, there is no escaping the fact that Coro Cervantes is a British choir, nor that the smooth-toned organ and warm and comfortable acoustic, so admirably captured in this lovely recording, belong to and Oxford College (Exeter) rather than a Spanish cathedral. But for all their Anglican overtones, these singers, under the clearly-focused direction of the utterly Spanish Carlos Aransay, reveal this to be music -much of which has not previously appeared on record- of far more than mere curiosity value; this is a disc to enjoy on many levels.

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Oratio
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BBC Music Magazine (05/06/2008)
Robert Maycock

Followers of London's professional Spanish-repertoire choir will be pleased that its debut CD  has a successor. So will other who go exploring this attractive collection of short, mostly unaccompanied works -often serene, sometimes dramatic- by Catalans, Basques, Spaniards and the Argentinean Alberto Ginastera.

Ginastera's Lamentations of Jeremiah, the first and longest item, is also the most exciting and is brilliantly performed, before its quasi-Baroque tailing-off. A clash between the small choir's vibrant style and the spacious acoustic turns out to be temporary, and the predominant quieter music has a glow that complements the singers' sensitivity. Highlights include Pau Casals at his most fervently eloquent, Ernesto Halffter's quirky, striking Oratio, an a freshly harmonised Agnus Dei by Javier Busto which culminates in a epigrammatic six-part pile-up on "Dona nobis pacem" and creates an appetite for the Missa Brevis from which it is taken.

Mompou, Rodrigo and Montsalvatge (in a spiky organ solo) make their appearances among 19 pieces of which ten are premiere recordings. Outstanding among those are Jesús Guridi's hymn-like Tantum ergo and vivid, Widor-meets-Saint-Saëns Final for organ; also, honourable mentions for Antón García Abril's varied textures and the suave, deceptively simple O Iesu mi dulcissime by Padre Donostia

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Choral Music of Anton Garcia Abril
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Coro Cervantes was chosen to record the choral music of one of Spain´s most distinguished contemporary composers, Antón García Abril, by the composer himself.  The recording took place at St Jude´s Hampstead  in September 2004. They were joined by the composer and  recorded two of the pieces with the London Symphony Orchestra Strings, soprano María Orán, cellist Asier Polo and organist Charles Matthews.
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Voice Coaching Interview
£7.50

This "On the sofa" interview between Voice Coach, Debra Skeen and author, Susie Heath is packed  full of tips on how to get the best out of your speaking voice. Just over 40 minutes of fascinating facts and helpful exercises to help women both in the workplace and at home along with superb advice on breathing and support, equally beneficial to singers.

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Yanomami
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Coro Cervantes latest CD available May 2009

Music for Choir and Guitar includes:

Romancero Gitano (on poems by Federico García Lora) by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Via Crucis by Carlos Surinach, Five Sacred Pieces by Fernando Moruja and Yanomami by Marlos Nobre. Featuring the renowned Brazilian guitarist, Fabio Zanon.

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