by | Sep 8, 2011 | Classical CD Reviews

JOSEPH GUY ROPARTZ: Prelude, Marine, and Chansons; JEAN FRANCAIX: Quintet No. 1 for Flute, Harp, and String Trio; JEAN YVES DANIEL-LESUR: Suite Medievale; MAURICE RAVEL: Pavane for a Dead Princess – Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble – 4Tay 4033, 39:23 ***:
I wasn’t sure that 4Tay Records was still around, having reviewed several past releases many years ago but not having seen anything recently. And I am not sure they will stay around with such stingy timings. 39 minutes on a modern CD?  Even at the 13 dollar price Amazon is asking it still feels a little like robbery, and I know for a fact that there are any number of other works that could have been included here. So why the shortage?
And that is a shame because what we do get is simply outstanding in every way. These pieces are utter delights, tantalizing the ears with exquisite sounds played to stunning perfection by the members of the Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble. If I can borrow the editorial review from Amazon, “Canta Libre was founded in 2002 by flutist Sally Shorrock to foster the performance and enjoyment of musical literature specifically written for flute, harp and strings. Other core members are violinist Bryony Stroud-Watson, violist Veronica Salas, cellist Bernard Tamosaitis and harpist Karen Lindquist. They have been acclaimed by audiences throughout the Northeast, with regular performances in Connecticut, Westchester and Long Island. They appear at the Music Festival of the Hamptons as well as Bargemusic. Trained at the finest conservatories both here and abroad, many of the musicians have performed and toured internationally with appearances at major festivals, including Aspen, Spoleto and Tanglewood.” I can understand the acclamation very easily; these folks play with a warmth and easy relaxation that show each of these neo-classical and neo-medieval pieces to best effect—Ropartz, Fhauntingly beautiful works with some soul-soothing sounds meant to tenderize the spirit. The works are lovingly tended and beautifully captured in some very breathable sound. Four stars are what I wanted to give, but the timing just precludes it. But if you think $13 is just a small hole in the pocket, you can’t go wrong with the music or the performances.
— Steven Ritter

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