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The Berlin team in action, with BASIL RAMSEY

EMI    7243 5 56981 2 4

Record Box


South American Getaway. Copyright (c) 2000 EMI Records Ltd.

The twelve cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic find themselves increasingly in the news for their own triumphs as a separate ensemble, which started some years ago. The EMI release of their latest CD South American Getaway may be expected to create a rush for copies.

The backbone of this programme is Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras  1 and 5, probably the most popular of the set of nine. Written for celli, the richness of texture found in these two works is effortlessly and sumptuously played, and the recorded sound matches the luxuriance.

In the second work the well-known Ária and Dança are sung by Juliane Banse, whose stylish approach to this music fits like a glove.

To me the unfamiliar tracks are the really unexpected delight, given the impeccable quality of the 12 celli, both in ensemble and sudden highlights for single instruments. Most of the music is South American and from composers unfamiliar to the Western world. The one exception is the German Wilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann with a flamboyant Bossa Nova.

Several of the songs, often tangos, have been recreated for this ensemble with all the benefits of imaginative arrangers using twelve celli as a new instrument. Astor Piazzolla, who died in 1992, was a one-time pupil of Nadia Boulanger and is represented by two pieces and one song, all intrinsically passionate in the inimitable way of Latins. The pathos of Chiquilín de Bachín from Piazzolla's tango opera 'Maria de Buenos Aires' makes it a gem [listen - track 11, 0:11-1:24].

I think it an error of judgement to have chosen Burt Bacharach's  South American Getaway  as the final track. It lacks the essential qualities of the genuine article, becoming another slab of kitsch.



Copyright © 30 August 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK



CD INFORMATION - EMI 7243 5 56981 2 4





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