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“La Bella Habana”
José White: La Bella Cubana (arr. Z. Romeu)
Moisés Simons: Chivo que Rompe Tambo (arr. A. Ramírez)
Publio Medina: Cuan Hermosa Naturaleza (arr. Y. Cobo)
Astor Piazzolla: Libertango (arr. Y. Cobo)
Eduardo Gamboa: Canambu
Guido López-Galiván: Camerata en Guaguanco
Carlos Fariñas: Final Obligato
Ricardo Herz: Gil y Hamilton
Guido López-Galiván/Zenaida Romeu/José White: La Bella Habana

Anabel Estevez Acosta (concertmaster), Camerata Romeu, Zenaida Romeu (conductor)
Recording: La Plaza de La Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís (September 23, 2019) – 35’09
Cugate Classics CLL003 (Distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English

Domiciled amidst a myriad of climes, the tocororo freely soars, displaying its vibrant plumage representative of the island’s flag. While fêted as Cuba’s national bird, the country also prides itself with another treasure, that of Camerata Romeu. Being an “island first” this all-female stringed chamber orchestra is now celebrating their 25th anniversary under the proud domain of founder Zenaida Romeu. Planted inside La Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís’ stone edifice, Camerata Romeu’s repertoire isn’t about pure island introspection, but, instead, expands the outreach by shifting beyond Havana and its 16 provinces with tangy possessions extolled by other Latin American countries. Since 1993, Zenaida Romeu’s mission has been to open this país insular by extolling the musical virtues in both her own neighborhood and those which are found afar.

As an open musical travelogue, Zenaida Romeu’s (along with Mssrs. White and López-Galiván) La Bella Cubana arrangement boldly translates into a striation of initially reserved sobriety with an explosive eventuality of colorful freedom. The parenthetic front-side outlook closes in on a strong heartbeat inside Cuba’s capital that ends the Latino thought with the affecting bonus composition, La Bella Habana. Not only has Mlle Romeu mastered an impeccable ensemble, she’s also inventively brokered a soundtrack with director Alejandro Reyes in an illustrative dedication of Havana’s 500th anniversary…a true landmark event.

There’s a strong athleticism that dwells upon these strings which draws the listener into an absorbent whirlpool. The magic keeps building. Combing through the middle section unveils rhythmic delights on many levels. Effusive of Louis Gottschalk sabor, Moisés Simons’ wispy Chivo que Rompe Tambo ponders upon a dreamy Cajun context.

Bowstrings “think outside the box” as ingenious techniques provide endless textural shading quite unique to the group. Former Camerata member, Yadira Cobo bounds about in Astor Piazzolla’s revolutionary tango but with more rounded edging. Anabel Estevez Acosta can’t be overlooked as she adds an emphatic dollop or two of saucy spice to Cuan Hermosa Naturaleza. The same can be said of Eduardo Gamboa’s exquisitely polished and daringly swaggered Canambu, brimming inside a bowlful of jazzy Mexican salsa. A fabulous composition! Bravíssimo!.

Camerata en Guaguanco is one of the most enthralling compositions with its layers of strings discovered in a fascinating portrait. Pizzicati and rhythmic techniques weave about during this quixotically bittersweet melody. The storyline steps up and down, unsettling the listener to no avail. This is one clever composition.

Carlos Fariñas nags away with a dignified Vivaldi cloth during the Final Obligado. Camerata Romeu captures the composer’s moody fury with determined perfection. One of the most motivic equations, however, rests in the hands of Brazilian violinist Ricardo Herz and his keen percolation of Gil y Hamilton. This œuvre delves into a samba extravaganza of hopeful happiness. Jurisdictionally-speaking there’s no need for percussion dependence for all strings compartmentalize wooden dynamics. Such independence is evident throughout…inventive to no end, this is a well-read tablet of strict articulation.

All pieces are performed by memory. This demonstrates Zenaida Romeu’s strength as a pure maestro, a true perfectionist and a grand genius extraordinaire.

...ahora, Cuba tiene otra Orquesta Nacional...and its flying wider than the beautiful trogon. Perfección.

Camerata Romeu Website

Christie Grimstad




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