Harp Consort

Spanish Dances: Selections from Ruiz de Ribaya's "Luz y Norte"

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If you like wispy music of such slender charms as wood smoke has when the fire has died out at the end of a long, drunken evening, then Andrew Lawrence-King and the Harp Consort have a disc for you. Although the selections from Luz Y Norte (A Lantern and a Guiding Star), a sort of "fake book" for a traveling Spanish dance band circa 1677 compiled by the minor nobleman Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz y Foncea, sound like that might be -- maybe even should be -- fairly flashy little dance numbers, in the Harp Consort's performance, they have about as much of the "let's rock this house" spirit as, say, your average George Winston record. While nothing but good things can be said about the performers -- Paul O'Dette is a spectacular guitarist, Pedro Estevan is a monstrous percussionist, the usually dull Hille Perl's viola da gamba playing isn't too vacuous, and Lawrence-King himself is a tremendous harpist -- the whole is much less than the sum of the parts. Try any track at random and see if your foot taps. Try any half-dozen selections and see if you can maintain your concentration. Try the whole disc and see if you can stay awake. This is an amazingly dull performance.

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