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Latin American Songs 3

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    *Lantin American Songs 3* for recorder quartet. Another useful and fun set of eight Latin American Songs.

    1. El Pobrecito
    2. Un Son Para los Ninos Antillanos
    3. Pala Pala (Argentina)
    4. Fiesta de San Benito (Bolivia)
    5. El Tortillero (Chile)
    6. El Costillar (Chile)
    7. La Libertad
    8. Seis por Ocho

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    _Score 15 pp. Parts 3 pp. Downloadable PDF file._

    Period/GenreJazz/Pop
    Composer First NameJusto
    Composer SurnameDiaz
    GradeModerate
    InstrumentationDescant, Treble, Tenor + Bass Recorders

    OMP200 Justo Diaz Latin American Songs 3.

    This is the third in a series of Latin American song quartets that Justo Diaz has prepared for Orpheus, whose catalog boasts an impressive amount of folk music from around the world. The third volume contains eight short pieces - three original compositions and five arrangements.

    Diaz has set the primarily pentatonic "Fiesta da San Benito" in F minor, perhaps because, in the more convenient E minor, the part would exceed the alto's lower range. Oddly, at the point where the alto is at the bottom of its range, the tenor is actually playing higher! Diaz need only have swapped the alto and tenor lines in bars 13-21, and key of E minor would have been quite feasible. A bit of double-tonguing is needed here.

    "El Tortillero" is in A Major, and although not technically complicated in this key, it would perhaps be a little easier to tune in G (with no recasting of parts). For the same reason, "El Costillar," in A Major, might fare better in G or even F.

    No player will feel subordinate for very long in any of the selections. Diaz has taken care to provide moments of dialog among players. Harmonies are fairly conventional, but seventh and ninth chords, as well as modal inflections, appear from time to time to add color. Upper voices moving in parallel thirds and sixths, mariachi-style, are characteristic. Negotiation of the jaunty rhythms is the main challenge in these pieces, although these will come more easily to those familiar with the Latin idiom.

    All but two of the selections are in triple meter. In four of the 6/8 pieces, the bass plays a nearly continuous 2+2+2 accentuation pattern (hemiola) against the 3+3 of the melody. All eight pieces are upbeat; a couple of slower, lyrical tunes would have been nice for variety.

    The Orpheus web site does not offer a difficulty rating for this volume. The reviewer, however, would venture "moderately easy." Justo Diaz is a versatile performer and composer based in Australia.

    Anthony St. Pierre, American Recorder, September 2010.

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