Recording information: Avatar Studios; Bass Hit Studios; Die: Mischbatterie; The Ann Kreis Scoring Stage, Berklee College of Music,; Water Music Recording Studios; Water Music Recording Studios, Hoboken, NJ.
Photographer: Rubn Martn.
Arranger: Robert Sadin.
Aged 73 when this album was released in 2014, Plcido Domingo certainly had the right to take on, as other singers in this age range have, a collection of popular material that would let his voice relax into its lower ranges. You can tell that it is taxed when it rises into its former territory, but the album is attractive: not only does the voice retain a characteristic clarity, but Domingo executes the project with the class you would expect. Encanto del Mar is, as the title suggests, a collection of Mediterranean songs, but Domingo does not phone in the usual group of Neapolitan songs, nor even the more distinctive zarzuela material he has recorded in the past. Instead, you get a collection of songs ranging from Spain and Catalonia to Cyprus and Israel, in half a dozen different languages, arranged intelligently into an arch shape that begins and ends with limpid melodies and gets into more complicated dialogic conception in the middle. There are a few traditional pieces, but most of the songs are popular compositions of the 20th century that evoke and are rooted in traditional music without being purely of the folk tradition. Domingo catches these layers quite gently and subtly. Sample "Aranjuez," track four, a song with a number of layers: it is a song based on the famed guitar concerto of Joaqun Rodrigo, in turn based on any number of Andalusian antecedents. In short, this album is sure to delight Domingo fans and will hold considerable interest beyond that group. One complaint: the very nice small backing group, featuring guitarist Chico Pinheiro, gets relegated to the small print in the graphics when in fact their work is central to the success of the enterprise. ~ James Manheim