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Born in Buenos Aires in 1956, Ortiz is a composer who seems to function very largely in the past, but one constructed very much on his personal terms. So there are settings here of Ovid and of Thomas Hardy (the lovely Darkling Thrush for SATB), as well as the remarkable Teatro Martin Fierro Suite, a set of miniatures after Sergio Chejfec, an exact contemporary, performed by three sopranos. The originality of Maizal del gregoriano (‘Gregorian Cornfield’) in which the choir is accompanied by celesta isn’t simply a novelty: it’s a genuinely remarkable and effective piece of chant, ancient and modern at the same time. Likewise the mournfully singable Leaving Limerick. Anyone unfamiliar with Ortiz’s work will be drawn by its intensely rhythmic quality. Gesualdo is said to be an influence, but so well combined with native strains as to be almost incidental now. Beautifully sung throughout and a pristine recording.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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