When in 2003, Hyperion released the first volume in this series under the name of 'New World Symphonies', the disc became an instant hit (Hyperion CDA67380). Now, almost two years on, we are regaled with this second anthology of Latin American music from the 17th and 18th centuries, which, in my opinion, is one of the most dazzlingly beautiful albums in the genre to be issued in recent times. The compilation of these pieces is a true labour of love by Jeffrey Skidmore, who had to travel extensively in the U.S.A., Mexico and Bolivia to discover and finally choose the works for this CD. The vast amount of extraordinary repertoire that came to light was staggering indeed, and it was no mean task selecting the works for this programme, but the invaluable help that Skidmore found was also extremely generous and scholarly.
Moon, sun and all things is the result of these unstinting endeavours. The name of the disc is taken from López Capillas' composition with the same title, where the composer is clearly referring to nature's obedience to Christ's will, the Creator of all that exists. I really cannot describe the limpid purity and majestic nobility of this music which entrances one's senses and uplifts the spirit towards those lofty heights where the Almighty is still in complete command of 'all things'.
Although no one can perceive the blinding brilliance of the True Light, these pieces go a long way in conveying, albeit in worldly sounds, the wonders of things to come. The Ex Cathedra Choir and Brass Ensemble give inspirational performances full of spiritual conviction that edifies both mind and heart. Stunning sound quality and Skidmore's enlightening annotations raise this disc to the realm of legendary recordings.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech