Music I Listen To: Patricia Petibon

In the course of writing The Mapmaker’ Opera, I have listened to, and continue to listen to, a lot of different musics from both Spain (and surrounding areas – particularly Portugal for Fado) and, of course, Mexico.  The richness of the different types of music, and the plethora of wonderful musical artists from these countries is so vast that I don’t think I am likely to metaphorically run out rocks to look under.

To demonstrate how beautiful and varied the music is that one can search out, I thought I would include with this post, a ‘clunky’ record company (DG) trailer of Patricia Petibon’s album, ‘Melancolia’ (actually to be fair, it’s clunky in the English edit; Ms. Petibon is far more appealing when she speaks her native French, so if you understand the language look up the version française trailer instead).  It’s not a very recent release, but music and the performances on this CD are equisite.  Ms. Petibon is described as “…unique for her dramatic flair, expert musicality, and interpretive powers” by Deutsche Grammophon, which although reeks of promotional ‘blurb’ is, in this case, well justified.

The music on this album tranverses Zarzuela to Art Song, Folk Song, the aria cantilena of Brazil’s Villa-Lobos, and the traditional Afro-Brazilian Ogundé uareré (go look it up!)

But I think it is the tracks with flamenco musicians of the zarzuela hit ‘Adios, Granada’ and the folk tune, ‘El vito’, that impress me most – as does the guitar playing of Daniel Manzanas (whoa!)  There is something about stripping music accompaniment back to just a few players that does more to reveal artistry (in this case focussed on vocal performance) than singing with an orchestra.  Favorites are not neglected: Petibon’s take on La tarántula, Marinela, Canto negro, and La petenera are sparkling renditions.  It’s a very, very good CD and the breadth of music explored is captivating.

Take care,


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