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Reviews: South American Music - RPO/Diemecke

Reviews: 4

Site review by Castor February 9, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by raffells February 7, 2006 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
An absolute winner musically with excellent top quality playing and recording.Bargain Price So what more do you want?..Its probably the best disc in the Membran series and the stereo is correct way around.Half decent liner notes helps explain the Italian feel to Brazilian Antonio Carlos Gomes delightfull overture which is followed by a clearly Mexican work and then the icing on the cake Villa Lobos rounded off with clever variations by an Argentine.69.11 seconds wasnt long enough for me...If membran are listening More like this PLEEEEEEEEEZE.Worth double..Oh the picture on the cover ...never mind..Dave

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Review by FullRangeMan December 18, 2008 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The Guarani Overture do not exist on 16/44 CD, this SACD is the only option avaliable, it is a very beautiful and soulful piece, the performance are pristine, Maestro E.A.Diemecke undestand the works and lead the RPO to a hi grade performance. The recordings in all RPO Project SACDs are PCM and have very good Stereo sound on this item. The others works are fascinanting and some rare on disc too.
This SACD are a blue moon, a white fly, a real precious gem for the price of a stone.

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Review by gonzostick July 21, 2009 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
A disappointment, for reasons that follow. First the good things:

The RPO plays spledidly, when the plodding conductor gets out of the way. The Ginastera Variaciones Concertantes is a work that is always very effective in concert. The Bachianas Brasileiras of Villa Lobos is always as puzzling and uneven, but interesting, as the output of this prolific composer. The Huapango is one of the most exciting folk-music orchestra works ever written. The sound, taken from PCM masters issued on the RPO's private label, is very good, though it wraps the orchestra around the listener in an arc of 270 degrees. The bass drum, in the .1 channel is fierce!

Now for the bad. The first work on the disc is a great performance of an overrated imitative piece of music, composed by a famous Brazilian hack, who apes Verdi, without having ANY of his genius. Just imagine a work of music that has all the rhetorical, lyrical, and violent gestures of the garden-variety Verdi overture, but not a SINGLE memorable tune. Actually, this overture has NO REAL THEMES, just appearances of tunes that are so dreadful that it leads one to wonder why anyone bothers to program this piece of drivel. This work is nothing but an empty procession of running notes and gestures that are empty. Yes, I did say drivel! I would run away from any announced performance of this terrible opera. Never mind that it is an historical curio, as Gomes spent quite a lot of time in Europe, but none of the genius of his contemporaries ever rubbed off on him.

The Huapango performance is terrible, as the conductor decides to turn what is arguably the most brilliant Mexican orchestra piece into something dull and uninvolving. The whole performance is under tempo so much that the work never cooks. Then, in the middle section, Diemecke suddenly decides to milk every phrase for every shmaltzando he can muster, totally killing the simple beauty of the music. Finally, he gets close to real performance tempo in the coda, but he misses the complete spirit of the work, and he is MEXICAN! Maybe he got too much conservatory in him to really hear the raw energy in the work. Also, in the trombone/trumpet duel in the end, the RPO trombonist really does a brilliant job of letting go while the trumpet player, in dialogue, never takes up the challenge of the duel written in the music. So, this is NOT the way to do this piece, the performance is so polite as to drain the energy out of the work.

The Villa-Lobos is a lovely work, but I take exception to the fact that the saxophone player is terrible and the wrong color for this music. The composer knew some outstanding French players of the instrument and expects a player with a colorful vibrato, instead of the straight tone to be heard from the utility player in the clarinet section. How do I know he is a clarinetist, listen how infrequent his vibrato occurs. That is typical of clarinetists, but NOT a a top-flight orchestra saxophonist. The purpose of vibrato in sax playing is to even out the imperfect intonation built into the instrument, while giving it a very vocal and lyrical quality. Most orchestra, unfortunately, have the practice of using their 3rd clarinetist as sax player, and this nasty thing happens...

Finally, the RPO players give a lovely accounting of their virtuosity in the Ginastera variations, only to be hamstrung by the plodding conductor in the last MALAMBO that ends the work. The work ends with a thud or ennui, instead of a blaze of brilliance. I suspect the conductor is at fault, for being the kind of conductor that is such a control freak, he does not know when to let the horses have their head, so the performance blazes with passion and energy. The only performance on the disc that has energy is the Gomes, but there is NO worthwhile music in the work.

So, this is a missed opportunity, the sound is as good as Membran gives us, the orchestra plays very well, but the results are DULL, especially when the conductor decides to make depth by playing slowly. That is just plain disgusting...

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