Coro Cervantes is the only U.K. choir dedicated to the classical music of the Iberan Peninsula and Latin America. It was founded in 1995 by Carlos Aransay, under the auspices of the Instituto Cervantes in London. Its repertoire spans a wide variety of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the 21st Century, with a special emphasis on Romantic Music. Coro Cervantes often performs with distinguished solists and instrumentalists and contributes to the international propagation of Hispanic choral music through its performances, recordings and research. Its repertoire includes works sung in Latin, Spainsh (Castilian). Quechua (language of the Incas), Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs), Mediaeval Galician, Catalan, Basque and even in English.

"What a contrast: the spiritual mysticism of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano to the drama of Carlos Surinach’s Andalusian-spiced Via Crucis and then the climax – Marias Nobre’s Yanomami, a vivid depiction of Brazilian indigenous ritual, with fine tenor solos from Julian Stocker. The choir performs with a fluidity that boasts expertise in Iberian style."
SIGCD166 – Classical Music Magazine


What people are saying

"… youthful singers, who sing with the sensitivity and precision you would expect of the next generation of choral scholars. They give some lovely accounts in this interesting collection…"

Classic FM Magazine


“Simply beautiful choral reworking of Joaquín Rodrigo´s Concierto de Aranjuez … Beautifully sung … An outstanding choir. I really can’t recommend too highly this magical CD”.

David Mellor, Classic FM – Connoisseurs’ Choice


… “it’s hard to find fault with a disc so successful, in execution as much as conception. More, please!”

Christopher Bell,

Coro Cervantes
Carlos Aransay, Conductor
Olatz Saitua

Release date:29th Mar 2010
Order code:SIGCD196
Barcode: 635212019627

August 2012 Critic’s Pick

This extensive selection of choral music from Spain is an essential for all choral enthusiasts. Its twenty-five tracks take a narrative journey through the towns of Aranjuez, La Mancha, Extremadura, Valladolid, Salamanca, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, before finally arriving in Valencia and Alicante. The CD notes accompanying this recording read like a storybook, dipping into historical facts, and presenting sociological and geographical influences that have shaped the musical history of Spain. With such breadth of information, Carlos Aransay, Director of Coro Cervantes, and Rupert Damerell, have provided the context for the listener to hear this music of the ‘folk’ with informed ears.

Well known for its dedication to the classical music of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, Coro Cervantes captures the character and nature of these pieces with much flair. Since the ensemble was founded in 1995 by Aransay, its repertoire has spanned the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. Their list of performances boast the finest cathedrals and concert halls across England, Europe, and Central and South America.

The CD notes state that Spain “has always been a melting pot of different cultures, languages, religions, and traditions.” Aurtxoa Sehaskan (track 3) from the Basque region, is a lullaby sensitively set by Gabriel de Olaizola and arranged by his brother Jose?. Olatz Saitua, the soprano soloist for this piece, carries the listener through this lullaby with ease and beauty. Arrorro? (track 19), a lullaby from Las Palmas, the capital of the Canary Islands, is the region’s official anthem, beautifully arranged by Juan Jose? Falcon Sanabria.

The flexibility and agility of the voices in El Vito (track 4) perfectly denotes the strong rhythmic pulse of the accompaniment, originally for guitar. This fiery dance would have been performed in the taverns of Andaluci?a by the women imitating the movements of the bullfighter. The persisting rhythmic nature of Xivarri (track 2) evokes the ‘mascleta?s’, the deafening displays of firecrackers and rockets typical of the Valencia region. Volar (track 6) comes from the region of Cantabria, the contrast of its landscape, set between its seafaring heritage and its mountainous areas. The calling ‘Volar’ echoes through the mountains as it is passed from voice to voice. Ton pare no te? nas (track 10) is a perfect midpoint for this recording, with its light nature, a nursery-rhyme all about noses!

The ‘villancico’ is a prominent form; it was developed in the 15th century in the Iberian Peninsula and used in popular religious music with vernacular texts. The texts vary and it is perhaps those for Christmas that are better known. Some elements of the ‘villancico’ are evident in El gavila?n (The sparrow hawk, track 18). In Adio?s Granada (track 21), sung by Tordiyo in the zarzuela Los Emigrantes, Saitua once again captures the flamenco style in the lavishly decorative melodic line, whilst

90 accompanied by the percussive rasgueo, perhaps reminiscent of the flameno dancer’s feet and the castanets. The compilation concludes with Manuel de Falla’s Balada de Mallorca with its soothing, lilting waves of sound. The singers of Coro Cervantes capture every nuance in this music from Spain. The narratives of these pieces need to be told in a way that captures every twist in the storyline, celebrates every joy, paints the picture of the most beautiful landscape, or gently lulls the young child to sleep. Aransay leads his singers through every one of these emotions with careful attention and devotion in a collection of music that is close to his heart.


International Choral Bulletin, Debra Shearer-Dirie

Classical Music Magazine, May 2010

An eclectic mix of choral works and arrangements from across Spain, representing all its languages and regions, from Madrid to the Balearic islands. Along with Rodrigo and Falla, you will find many lesser-known Spanish composers among the 25 tracks on this disc.

Classic FM Magazine, July 2010
Presenter’s Choice

As warm, colourful and sonically tasty as promised, this potpourri of mostly 20th-century choral songs by Iberian composers is as entertaining as it is enlightening. Finely shaped performances, too, from Carlos Aransay’s crack specialist ensemble.

Nick Bailey

Connoisseurs’ Choice, The New CD Show, Classic FM – 12th June 2010

I could have played you any number of these items and you would have enjoyed all of them….

David Mellor, 28th June 2010

It’s arguable that the best professional Spanish a capella choir is based not in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao or Valencia, but in London. Carlos Aransay’s Coro Cervantes, founded with the assistance of the Instituto Cervantes in 1995, has gained many plaudits for its work in bringing the riches of Iberian choral music, sacred and profane, to a larger public. Their first CD O Crux included pieces by Vives, Bretón and Barbieri amongst many sacred rarities; and this new disc presents the profane side of the Spanish coin.

A Choral Postcard is a neat title, confounding touristic images in a cornucopia of regional styles. Only the opening track, the slow movement of Rodrigo’s ubiquitous concerto set to a chunk of verbal españolada, nods to the tourist trade; though when it’s sung with such poise, taste and impeccable tuning it’s hard not to be beguiled as ever by the bejewelled beauty of Rodrigo’s moment of genius. This is a party piece which everyone will enjoy.

What follows is a virtuoso collection of traditional songs and modern compositions covering just about every Spanish region. Mood and tempo are cunningly varied by Aransay. And the range of flavours is marvellous, from the vernal freshness of the Basque Country (Olaizola’s familiar Aurtxoa Sehaskan, with Olatz Saitua a most affecting soloist) through the light, almost French maritime melancholy of the Cantabrian Volar, to the deep fatalism of the Andalusian granadinas from Emigrantes: Valentín Ruiz-Aznar’s arrangement uses clever choral imitation of the flamenco guitar accompaniment hinted at in Barrera and Calleja’s original orchestration, without distracting from the silver thread of the quasi-improvised vocal line. What a contrast is El Vito (familiar from Giménez’s Luis Alonso zarzuelas, and earlier used by Auber in Le Domino Noir) with its fiery evocation of Andalusian women dancers imitating the movements of bullfighters.

The most recent compositions are amongst the highlights: I was spellbound by Rubén García Martín’s ¿Ondi jueron?, its juicy harmonic suspensions capitalising on the earthy strength of the Extremaduran Castúo dialect of José María Gabriel y Galán’s poem El Cristu Benditu. Here as always, the security of the choir’s tuning and sensitive response to the text make for enthralling listening.

Set apart from the main journey are a Cervantes triptych, epitaphs to Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Dulcinea in Rodolfo Halffter’s warmly neo-classical style, seasoned with stylistic gestures towards 16th century vocal practice; and – to finish – de Falla’s late and lovely Balada de Mallorca, a five-minute setting of a Catalan text by Verdaguer, inspired by the composer’s feeling for Chopin’s Second Ballade, Op.38. Relaxed but precise, this is the best recording of this deceptively tricky little masterpiece I’ve heard.

Like a fine bottle of manzanilla, the CD is best taken at more than one setting; and in some of the more rustic songs (such as Durango’s 17th century Navarra standard Pero Grullo) Coro Cervantes’s super-smooth, sophisticated blend could perhaps have been relaxed a mite to ring the vocal changes; but that’s critical nit-picking. In truth, it’s hard to find fault with a disc so successful, in execution as much as conception. More, please!

Christopher Webber

All Music Guide, October 2010

The composers and works on this a cappella choral release are mostly unfamiliar outside Iberia, but not the melodies; the nearly two-dozen short tunes, mostly drawn on folk and regional traditions, have in several cases served as source material for or been arranged from popular symphonic works. The opening En Aranjuez con tu amor comes from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez; Soy de Mieres (track 16) became one of the Siete canciones populares of Manuel de Falla. The charming Catalan folk song El cant dels ocells is a concert standard both for vocalists and for cello. All three of these pieces are associated with different regions of Spain, and that indicates the album’s theme: it is a "postcard from Spain" not in the usual sense of sending a few colorful Spanish scenes but instead in the sense of an entire tour of the peninsula and even nearby islands. You might call it a musical travel diary of Spain. The diversity of these small pieces is what makes the program so enjoyable; each one brings a new twist of melody or melodic flavor, new imagery or kinds of humor, and even a new language; many of the multiple dialects of the languages known as Spanish and Catalan are on display, and the choir even attempts a couple of pieces in Basque. The singing by Coro Cervantes, a British group, is nothing short of gorgeous, and the album succeeds both as a kaleidoscope of light choral songs and as a useful collection of generally unfamiliar music. Notes are in English and Spanish; the song texts are given in their original languages and in English.

James Manheim

David Mellor’s Top Albums of 2010
The Daily Mail

…But of all this year’s CDs, perhaps the one that has given me greatest pleasure is Espana: A Choral Postcard From Spain.

The London-based Coro Cervantes, formed and trained by Calos Aransay, sound completely assured in a 25-item collection of short, tuneful pieces from all over Spain. Aransay’s own arrangement for choir of the slow movement of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez concerto is alone worth the price of this stunning CD.

  1. En Aranjuez con tu amor – Joaqu?n Rodrigo –
  2. Xivarri – Albert Alcaraz –
  3. Aurtxoa Sehaskan – Gabriel de Olaizola –
  4. El Vito – Fernando Obradors –
  5. Al pa?o fino – Arr. Manuel Massotti Littel –
  6. Volar – Arr. Esteban Sanz V?lez –
  7. Negra sombra – Xoan Montes –
  8. Jo tinc un burro – Joaqu?n Rodrigo –
  9. ?Ondi jueron? – Rub?n Garc?a Mart?n –
  10. Ton pare non t? nas – Arr. Baltasar Bibiloni –
  11. El cant dels ocells – Arr. Lluis Millet –
  12. Suari Kanta – David Azurza –
  13. Riverana – Hilario Goyenechea –
  14. Esta tierra – Javier Busto –
  15. Nana – Valent?n Ruiz-Aznar –
  16. Soy de Mieres – Jes?s Guridi –
  17. Pero Grullo – Math?as de Durango –
  18. El gavil?n – Alejandro Yag?e –
  19. Arrorr? – Arr. Juan Jos? Falc?n Sanabria –
  20. La tarara riojana – Arr. Jos? Ferm?n Gurbindo –
  21. Adi?s, Granada – Tom?s Barrera & Rafael Calleja –
  22. Epitafio de Don Quijote – Rodolfo Halffter –
  23. Epitafio de Dulcinea – Rodolfo Halffter –
  24. Epitafio de Sancho Panza – Rodolfo Halffter –
  25. Balada de Mallorca – Manuel de Falla –
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