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PALOMO, L.: My Secluded Garden / Madrigal and 5 Sephardic Songs / Concierto de Cienfuegos (Bayo, P. Romero, Romero Guitar Quartet, Fruhbeck de Burgos)

Composer(s):Palomo, Lorenzo
Period(s) Contemporary
Genre Classical Music
Category ConcertosVocal
Catalogue 8.572139
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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Acclaimed for her ‘beautifully clear, warm and intelligent coloratura’ (The Gramophone) and ‘naturally bright, vernal timbre’ (BBC Music Magazine), Spanish soprano María Bayo has shone as a prima donna internationally, yet reserves a special place for the music of her native country. With legendary guitarist Pepe Romero, she is an ideal interpreter of the heartfelt songs of Lorenzo Palomo, one of Spain’s most successful contemporary composers. The Romero Guitar Quartet premièred Palomo’s beguiling Concierto de Cienfuegos. His equally appealing Andalusian Nocturnes and Spanish Songs are also available (8.557135).


Review By Chris Hathaway,88.7 KUHF News,July 2009

The exquisite tenderness of 71-year-old Spanish composer Lorenzo Palomo’s song cycles sets these works apart from much of what is being written today. Maria Bayo and Pepe Romero are most expressive partners. The style of writing is unmistakably “contemporary”, but tonal and accessible. The Sephardic songs are especially moving—the first two, especially: Penas de amores (The Pain of Love), which Palomo labels a madrigal, and Linda de mi corason (My Heart’s Beauty) are a perfect pair, leading into the other songs very smoothly. There is an underlying sadness about these songs, whose strong ethnic flavor probably has something to do with the fact that Palomo (who currently lives in Berlin) is a native of Córdoba, where

The Concierto de Cienfuegos, completed in Berlin eight years ago, was premiered by the forces heard in the recording. The first movement carries on the strongly Andalusian coloring of Mi jardin solitario and is superbly idiomatic. The second movement, which Palomo calls Canto a la noche (Song to the Night), is richly evocative, opening with the guitarists playing chords against high string harmonics. Soon, a lyrical melody for flute emerges; this movement closes with an even greater and penetrating tranquility. The problems of balancing the delicate voice of the guitar with a large orchestra are deftly handled. The finale is a percussion-happy, toccata-like piece (five beats to the bar) which, says the composer, says that “Cienfuegos never sleeps...the frenetic sounds of the bongos and congas can be heard until the break of day.”

Lorenzo Palomo’s “new romanticism”, for want of a better term, is a breath of fresh air in the early twenty-first century. As was the case with his spiritual forebears Albéniz and Tárrega, his music greatly benefits from the incorporation of native and ethnic elements. He seldom quotes folk material but evokes folk idioms in his work. It’s interesting that a Spaniard living in Berlin—like, to give one example of many, Frederick Delius (an Englishman living in southern France)—thinks more intensely of his native land than he did while a resident there. Naxos has already recorded several of Palomo’s compositions, as well as those of several other contemporary Spanish composers. One can only hope for more.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,June 2009

Lorenzo Palomo comes in direct lineage of Rodrigo adding some interesting modern harmonies to take it forward into the present century. Local folk idioms infuse much of his output that remains within a lyric and tonal structure. It was a meeting with Celedonio Romero, the patriarch of the famous guitar family, that disclosed the fact that he was also a fine poet. Palomo chose eleven to set to music in Mi Jardin solitario (My Secluded Garden) here performed in his version for voice and guitar. It is music that is easy to listen to, though I confess that from the music I would not always guess the nature of the words. Maybe he does not have the angst in his soul to shade the sad poems, and I find much the same in connecting music with words in Madrigal y Yet turn to the third, Nani (Lullaby), and you will find a great tenderness that continues through much of the score to the haunting quality of final Nani Sefardi (Sephardic Lullaby). Both works are performed by two of the most distinguished Spanish musicians, the soprano, Maria Bayo, and the guitarist, Pepe Romero. Palomo express a much wider range of emotions when he has the resources of the orchestra in the Concierto de Cienfuegos. The solo role is given to a guitar quartet, here stunningly played by the Romero Guitar Quartet. You could well imagine it is Rodrigo, tricky rhythms, a tourists feel of Spain, and catchy tunes giving it immediate listener appeal. The songs were recorded last year, but the Concertio dates back eight years, the balance much in favour of the Romeros. A disc you can sit back and enjoy.



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