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José Carreras - Singing from the Soul
on 17 September 2006
This recording was made in a small village church in Spain, well known for its wonderful accoustics.
If any classical music lover can fail to enjoy this, it's beyond my understanding. Does the fact that José Carreras is a world famous opera star give everything he sings a touch of glamour which lessens the originality of, as in this case, the Argentinian and Hispano-American regional rythms? Actually both Argentina, Bolivia and Peru are referred to in the introduction inside the CD cover.
In my opinion it's the simple songs - I have heard him in relatively unknown Spanish and German very soft and peaceful songs - which show Carreras at his best.
So also in Misa Criolla. The more quiet passages suit his voice to perfection. But the whole record is wonderful. Everything has been done to stay true to the originality of this music. Instruments were especially brought from Argentina. And both the choice of church (the Santuario de la Bien Aparecida, Cantabria, Spain) and the choir (the Sociedad Choral de Bilbao) add to a perfect presentation of the music by Ramirez.
I saw a television program from the recording in Spain. The dedication not only by Carreras himself, the musicians and all the singers, was as impressive as it was moving and a joy to witness.
I admit that José Carreras has the loveliest voice i know. His lyrical tenor goes straight to my heart. To me a tenor does not have to sing out with the highest and strongest of voices which seems to so often be considered the top achievement by tenors.
I'm not alone. Herbert von Karajan favoured Carreras as well. Do listen to José Carreras' version of the "Flower Aria" from "Carmen" in a recording conducted by von Karajan in Berlin in 1984. There is no crescendo ending here. Instead those last tones disappear slowly, slowly into the slightest touch of a whisper. The clearest bells softly tuning out.
In Misa Criolla listen to track 5 "Agnus Dei". In "Navidad Nuestra" track 9, "El Nacimiento" is incredibly beautiful.
I have been told that Spain has no real Christmas carols and that Misa Criolla can be viewed as exactly that. Or rather in particular "Navidad en Verano" (track 6), written for a tenor solo and mixed choir of 5 voices. A Christmas song praying for peace on earth, an earth which is warm yet covered with snow.
A wonderful Christmas present - or simply a lovely gift - for music lovers.