My romance with Latina music didn’t begin in earnest until my move to Honduras in 2008. The tracks in this collection were recorded in various places at various times, but all brought together by the willing participation of some very fine musicians and technology that was unimaginable when I first started playing the flute in 1969.
Astor Piazzolla’s place in Latin music cannot be overestimated. Born to an Italian family in Argentina, raised in New York City, studied in Paris, and achieved initial success in Italy. When the matriarch of composers Nadia Boulanger suggested he focus on the tango, he took it to heart and turned it into a high art form. Milonga Picaresque is performed by many and various combos, Libertango is his most iconic tune, while Histoire de Tango has become standard repertoire for flute and guitar duos.
Modinha is a charming vignette I couldn’t resist including, while the “Aria” from Bachianas Brasileiras #5 is as haunting a tune as ever came out of South America. Like Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos was European trained and had one foot on either continent.
Eldin Burton’s Fandango, Ravel’s Bolero and the Carmen Fantasy are classical pieces I have adapted for this recording, while the flute part to Soaring was written over Fernando Sor’s Study #19 in Bb on a dare.
Jorge Mejía is conductor and artistic director of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Honduras, but this pop romantic piece Una Vez Mas Adios dates back to his student days in Berlin in 1988 and was written for a fleeting attraction.
Roumania’s musical culture is Balkan and Eastern European, but its language is Latinate and the inclusion Dinicu’s Hora Staccato on this album is in memory of my father, who would play a cassette recording of a live performance of mine to every visitor to the house in the 1970s.
Pieces in popular style, El Manisero “The Peanut Vendor” is based on a Cuban street seller’s refrain, while Paçoca a Brazilian choro.
Among the folkloric pieces, El Condor Pasa has achieved longstanding international fame, Luna de Xelajú is the reportedly the most performed song in Central America, while Vasija de Barro is a national incantation of Ecuador. We end the album with this archival track that was rescued from a home cassette tape that nevertheless still has some magic.
released December 29, 2014
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