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Charles E. Brewer
American Record Guide, January 2013

…Juan Sancho offers elegant interpretations of these Spanish love songs, filled with infectious melodies and rhythms…the sequel is as good or better. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, December 2012

In his liner-notes José Ángel Vilas Rodriguez sums up the features of the tonos humanos: “precise and regular rhythms, clear melodies and harmonies aiding textual articulation, a tendency towards syllabic style, an absence of Italianate virtuosic vocal ornamentation and limited use of freer, recitative-like passages”. A example of recitative-like episodes is to be found in the opening lines of Manda la piedad divina. The strophic texture also implies that it is impossible to depict every single word in the music. Even so it is striking to hear how well the music fits the text. It is up to the interpreters to perform the songs in such a way that the content and the mood of every stanza is communicated to the listener. Some songs are quite theatrical, such as Hidalgo’s Ay de mi dolor, especially the refrain.

Juan Sancho, Eligio Luis Quinteiro and Manual Vilas do a great job in this respect. Through differentiation in tempo and dynamics and a truly rhetorical treatment of the text they manage to convey the expression of the various songs in a most eloquent manner. The subjects of these songs may often be more or less the same—the trials and tribulations of love—, but there is much differentiation in the way it is treated, both in text and music. That is well reflected in the way these three artists perform this repertoire. Among the highlights are Hidalgo’s La noche tenebrosa, ¿Amante ausente y triste? by either Hidalgo or José Marin and the anonymous Yo joven.

Songs like these are relatively unknown. That makes this disc most welcome. I urge every reader to explore this repertoire. This disc is full of gems, and I am pretty sure that once you have heard them you will be longing for more. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Michael Schwartz
The WholeNote, November 2012

From the start Juan Sancho’s clear Spanish tenor voice brings the songs to life. Juan Hidalgo’s Ay de mi dolor, despite its sorrowful title, places varied demands on Sancho’s vocal range. This is comforted by what immediately follows, Dichoso yo que adoro, in turn benefiting from the guitar accompaniment. It was rare for instruments to be specified but harp and guitar are known to have been used frequently. As an example, Hidalgo exploited the range of both tenor and baroque harp in his La noche tenebrosa.

Many of the songs on this particular recording are of anonymous composition. Frescos airecillos with its beautiful guitar embellishments is one such example; what a shame that we do not know who composed this beautiful and expressive piece.

All of the songs in the Guerra manuscript will be recorded in this series—they will form a joyful and informative contribution to our knowledge of the Spanish Baroque. © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2012

Spanish music was greatly indebted to Jose Miguel Guerra for collecting together over a hundred songs probably from the second half of the 17th century. Now housed in the University of Santiago, it was the work of scribe working in the employment at the court in Madrid during that period. That he was given the finance and time to travel to collect these songs, does at least show that his work in this field was of a valued importance. The composers of most the songs do not carry their name—they are all secular—though their quality is a cut above the usual material discovered in those circumstances. Also included was music by the famous early Spanish Baroque composers, such as Juan Hidalgo, a harpist at the Royal Chapel, and Juan de Navas a highly prolific composer. Generally the disc’s contents are of happy songs and of a vivacity to be taken at a brisk tempo. There are 18 tracks performed by the Spanish tenor, Juan Sancho, a leading expert in the field of Early Music, and accompanied by the Baroque guitar and Spanish harp of Ars Atlantica. I have only a passing knowledge of this particular music, so I can only comment as one coming to the music for the first time. At that level I find it very pleasing and often absorbing, the instrumental playing well detailed and soothing to the ear. The sound quality balances the trio admirably, texts and translations accessed on the Naxos website. © 2012 David’s Review Corner, August 2012

Tenor Juan Sancho brings a sure sense of style and an appropriate level of understated emotion to these works on the second Naxos CD devoted to this manuscript. Eligio Luis Quinteiro on baroque guitars and Manual Vilas on Spanish baroque harp help Ars Atlántica provide just the right instrumental backdrop, and Manuel Vilas—who transcribed all the songs—directs with sensitivity. These works…have things to say to today’s listeners, if we will only pay attention. © 2012 Read complete review

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