P’RA VOCÊ / OVALLE: Modinha. Azulao. VILLA-LOBOS: Melodia Sentimental. Cançao do Marinheiro. Lundu da Marqueza de Santos. PAGLICHI: A Casinha Pequenina. FERNÁNDEZ: Tonado pra voce. GINASTERA: Canción le la Luna Lunanca. Triste. Zamba. Arroró. Canción al árbol del olvido. GUSTAVINO: Cuando acaba de llover. El Sampedrino. La Tempranera. Pueblito, mi pueblo. Pampa sola. Pampamapa. Ya me voy a retirar. Préstame tu pañuelo. Bonita rama de Sauce. La Rosa y la Sauce. Se equivacó la paloma / Raquel Lojendio, sop; Chiky Martín, pno / IBS Classical 22020
Spanish soprano Raquel Lojendio here presents a collection of Latino songs, including several by Brazilian composers such as Jayme Ovalle and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Most of them are tonal and lyrical, but most of them also contain interesting turns of harmony and Lojendio is an interesting enough singer to keep the listener engaged.
Those expecting the second coming of Victoria de los Angeles are in for a surprise. Not only is Lojendio’s voice brighter than hers, but she is a much more emotional and engaged interpreter. Not for her the mere production of a smooth tone from top to bottom, though the voice production is even enough. Lojendio is much more interested in the words and in communication than de los Angeles although, at certain times (i.e., Azulao) her mellifluous legato, riding apparently endlessly on the breath, can make one recall the earlier soprano. Lojendio is a singer who can do both, then: produce a gorgeous sound and interpret a song.
It would be unfair not to mention the contribution of pianist Chiky Martín, who plays so well on this CD, but unfortunately Lojendio’s voice is so good, well controlled and expressive that one’s attention is almost always focused on her except for those passages when she does not sing. I have written volumes on this blog about the vocal weaknesses, and often deficiencies, of modern singers, but in Lojendio’s case I have absolutely nothing to say but positives. Just listen, for instance, to Villa-Lobos’ Melodia Sentimental with her perfectly-controlled soft high notes, perfectly integrates into the voice, to understand the difference between a master-singer and a wannabe. Lojendio can even sing rings around such a fine soprano as Carolyn Sampson, and that’s saying quite a bit.
Another great piece of singing (and interpreting) is Ginastera’s Canción de la Luna Lunanca, in which she “arcs” the voice in a manner I’ve not heard from a living singer in close to 40 years.
The only drawback to this album is that most of the songs are ballads, and often in the same keys, which detracts from the recital’s interest on a musical level, but that clearly won’t bother those who love great singing. Raquel Lojendio has IT.
—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley
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