A thrilling and arresting fusion of musical styles and techniques is a trademark of L’Arpeggiata, the multi-faceted instrumental and vocal ensemble led by Christina Pluhar. This new release – which takes its name, ‘Los Pájaros perdidos’ (‘the lost birds’), from a piece by the King of Tango, Ástor Piazzolla – brings a heady Latin American mix. Echoes from the pre-Columbian era, African rhythms and the styles and structures of the European Baroque all enrich this survey of music from the 17th century to the present day, with a geographical spread that covers Spain, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela.
The title track, sung by French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, is a lyrical tango, with a klezmer-like clarinet curling round Jaroussky’s vocal line, while the many other striking number include: the lively Pájarillo Verde from Venezuela, which will please fans of the Buena Vista Social Club; the melancholy Alfonsina y el Mar, sung by Lucilla Galeazzi; the haunting La embarazada del viento, with a powerful performance from Luciana Mancini; the sensual, purely instrumental Caballo Viejo and a version of the well-known bolero Besame mucho, with soprano Raquel Andueza, that is reminiscent of some of Peggy Lee’s sexier recordings.
The ensemble offers an array of exotic stringed instruments along with percussion, trumpet and clarinet, while the vocal parts are taken by French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and Italian vocalist Lucilla Galeazzi (who both featured on L’Arpeggiata’s 2010 Mediterranean-themed album Via Crucis), the Chilean-Swedish mezzo soprano Luciana Mancini (heard on L’Arpeggiata’s recording of the Monteverdi Vespers), the Spanish soprano Raquel Andueza and the Neapolitan-trained ballet dancer-turned-singer Vincenzo Capezzuto, who brings his haunting alto tones to several numbers. There are virtuosic guest instrumentalists too: Raul Orellana, from Chile on the charango, the Paraguayan harpist Lincoln Almada, and the Argentinian guitarist Quito Gato.