Soprano Patricia Rozario has often been taken for Spanish, but is in fact from India (and has performed in a sari); her background can be traced to Portuguese colonists in the Goa region. Her voice is unique, with deeply shaded tones in the bottom and middle range emerging into top notes of startling clarity. A quick sampling will help you place yourself into the group that finds the voice sublime or the one irritated by it. If you're on board with the basic sound, Rozario beautifully handles this all-Spanish program. She has often been heard on recordings in the music of John Tavener, but this release would seem to open up a new avenue for her. The program, as so often with the small British label Somm, is fascinating in itself, both conceptually and in that it offers some rarely heard gems. Those include the Romance de Durandarte of Joaquín Rodrigo, written when the composer was 92, and a vocal setting, in French, of the middle movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez. Even better are the 12 Seguidillas of Fernando Sor, which ought to be of special interest to singers: with their juxtaposition of compact, melodramatic songs and comic numbers (note especially the satirical "requiem" of the Seguidillas del Requiem eternam, track 20), they would entertain any crowd. All of the music is tied to folk song to a greater or lesser degree, and the program offers the chance to reflect on the persistence of this Spanish trait through the modern (although not in this case atonal), allusive language of Roberto Gerhard, the Classical style of Sor, and the neo-Romantic melodic idiom of Rodrigo. Craig Ogden is a relaxed and entirely sympathetic accompanist. The sound, recorded in St. Philips Church in Chipping Norton, is better than that of many church-based recordings involving a guitar, but still not really ideal for chamber music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Cantares, song cycle for voice & guitar|
|Canciónes (12) españolas, song collection for voice & piano|
|Villancicos (3), for voice & guitar (from Retablo de Navidad)|
|Seguidillas (12) for voice(s) & guitar (or piano)|