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Reviews - Coro Cervantes

Coro Cervantes

Nuestro Director

Diverdi (
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Andrés Ruiz Tarazona

Coro Cervantes surveys the most recent Hispanic tradition
 Great choral repertoire

Carlos Fernández Aransay, founder and director of this excellent choir, insists on uncovering Spanish choral music. When he founded Coro Cervantes in 1995, under the auspices of London’s Instituto Cervantes, he decided that this professional British group – a new “sixteen”- would be exclusively dedicated to the performance of Iberian and Latin American music. And so it has been.

During the past eight years, Coro Cervantes has taken part in important festivals and commemorative events, mainly in the United Kingdom, but also as far as Mexico and Russia. We had the opportunity to talk about O Crux -their first CD for Guild- here in Diverdi Magazine. In O Crux, choral pieces were by composers from Sor and Arriaga to Vives and Falla, with a series of “heavy weights” like Eslava, Monasterio, Pedrell, Bretón, Albéniz, Granados, etc. It was selected by the critics of Gramophone as one of the CDs of the Year.

Now Aransay offers us again Spanish sacred choral music in a second CD. There is one exception: the Argentine Alberto Ginastera, whose Lamentations of Jeremiah, a true choral symphony, would on its own suffice to justify this CD. The Ego vir is probably the best of a CD that includes very beautiful pieces by  Pablo Casals, Nemesio Otaño, Ernesto and Cristóbal Halffter, Federico Mompou, Jesús Guridi, Padre Donostia, Joaquín Rodrigo, Joaquín Homs, Fernando Remacha, Antón García Abril, Javier Busto and César Cano.

The organ intervenes in the works by Otaño, Remacha and Guridi. The CD also includes the grandiose Finale for organ by the latter. This and the Aureola para una imagen de Ramón Amadeu, by Xavier Montsalvatge –also a solo organ piece- are played by Charles Matthews, first prize winner at the Ferencz Liszt Competition in Budapest.

What we have here is a priceless contribution to the unfrequented world of Hispanic 20th century choral music, very well represented by first rate figures, already consecrated, but whose pieces –in many cases – are here recorded for the first time. Aransay has still plenty where to choose from: Prieto, Iruarrizaga, Clavé, Gorriti, Antonio José, Mocora, etc, and more pieces by many of the composers already portrayed in these two CDs, which are also excellent from a vocal point of view because of their cohesion and intonation. They deserve every praise for the quality of the repertoire, which maestro Aransay knows how to perform in an excellent manner.