Given that guitar ensembles and Christmas music are two surefire sales drivers in classical music, it's a wonder what took Los Romeros so long to release a holiday album. "Christmas with Los Romeros" is a pleasingly mellow collection of classic carols, songs and one newly-commissioned work, all delivered with a Spanish accent befitting the family ensemble, which today consists of second and third generation members.
As the group patriarch Pepe Romero explains in a video interview, the recording actually started with a commission: the conductor/composer Massimo Paris wrote the X'Mas Suite, an attractive five-movement dance suite for guitar quartet and orchestra, which the ensemble plays with customary flair and polish. The rest of the album includes several carols given a Spanish tinge, including a heavily punctuated “Carol of the Bells,” a piquant "Little Drummer Boy” and a curious mash-up of “O Come, O Come” and "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen."
The selections with orchestra include Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and the Ave Maria of both Gounod and Schubert, which thankfully lean towards sophisticated rather than schmaltzy. The quartet brings it home with a medley of “O Christmas Tree" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Christmas with Los Romeros
Available at Arkivmusic.com
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