Seraphic Fire / Patrick Dupré Quigley

Seraphic Fire

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This release from the Miami, Florida, area, self-released by the group that performs it, is of a sort that will be familiar to Americans living in metropolitan area with large Latino populations and probably quite fresh to others. It may not be totally clear from the graphics, but Seraphic Fire is a small choir; it is accompanied by guitar and percussion in the Misa Criolla of Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez and in the short A este sol peregrino by colonial Peruvian composer Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco. The former piece shows the distinctiveness of this particular repertory, which mixes popularly inspired Latin American materials with more formal a cappella pieces from Europe and North America. The Misa Criolla, seemingly a simple, joyous work, can be hard to get right; highly trained choirs take all the fun out of it, while the many amateurs who perform it don't reproduce the bright textures accurately. Seraphic Fire threads this needle. The Torrejón y Velasco piece is not something you would hear every day from a North American choir of any description; it's a representative of the large repertory of the so-called American Baroque that is only now being rediscovered. These works make a wonderful contrast with the soberer pieces by other choral composers, Latin American and otherwise; the opening Invocation by William Billings is another pleasant surprise. Seraphic Fire under the conducting of Patrick Dupré Quigley is precise, expressive, and enthusiastic about what it is doing, and the engineering, from All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale, is fine. All in all, an exemplary recording of its type.

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