Classical CD Reviews

Los Pájaros Perdidos (“The Lost Birds”): The South American Project – Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor/ L’Arpeggiata/ Christina Pluhar – Virgin

The performances are seductive and the sound is of audiophile quality.

Published on April 11, 2012

Los Pájaros Perdidos (“The Lost Birds”): The South American Project – Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor/ L’Arpeggiata/ Christina Pluhar – Virgin

Los Pájaros Perdidos (“The Lost Birds”): The South American Project – Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor/ L’Arpeggiata/ Christina Pluhar – Virgin Classics CD and downloads, 75:33 *****: 

On their fourth album for Virgin Classics, Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata focus on music from South America, tracing Latin American traditions from their roots in pre-Columbian and African rhythms through to their spread and evolution from Spain to Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Venezuela. It’s like Jordi Savall’s groundbreaking exploration sets, but with more emphasis on the 21st century crossover market (the track, for instance, by Astor Piazzolla features celebrated French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky); there is also music made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club and Cesaria Evora (“Besame Mucho”), in which Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata tempt the fates by “broadening” their musical horizons on this exuberant joyful disc.

While the basically early music ensemble offers an array of exotic stringed instruments along with percussion, trumpet and clarinet, the vocal parts are taken by Jaroussky and Italian singer Lucilla Galeazzi, who were both featured on L’Arpeggiata’s 2010 Mediterranean-themed album Via Crucis; Chilean-Swedish mezzo-soprano Luciana Mancini, heard on L’Arpeggiata’s recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers; Spanish soprano Raquel Andueza; and the Neapolitan-trained ballet dancer-turned-alto Vincenzo Capezzuto. There are virtuosic guest instrumentalists too: Raúl Orellana, from Chile on the charango, Paraguayan harpist Lincoln Almada, and Argentinian guitarist Quito Gato.

The sound, recorded in la Chapelle Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours in Paris, has the perfect blend of breathing room and immediacy. If you like vocal beauty at its purest, enhanced by the exciting dynamics of theorbo, cornetto, chitarra battente and a battery of handheld percussion instruments, the performances are seductive and the sound is of audiophile quality.

—Laurence Vittes




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