By Rodrigo Pincheira Albrecht.
”Imborrables momentos” [“ineffaceable moments”], as the famous bolero goes. That would be a fitting description of the two concerts given by La Flor del Recuerdo quintet with the Concepción Symphony Orchestra. The program entitled “Unforgettable Boleros” was a journey through the realms of the amorous, suggestive and sensual discourse of bolero – pure melodrama and “folletín”, evocation of modernity, moral freedom, a device of dreams, reality and desire.
La Flor del Recuerdo went straight to the emotion, to the feeling made song that triggered emotion and drive – a space in imagination and erotic daydream which is inhabited by people, places, affective memories, loves and heartbreaks. A realm of desire that is nothing like mimesis or realism, an intoxicating potion that Pablo Moraga, Cristóbal González and Ricardo Aguilera prepared with the powerful scent of nostalgia, captivating and seducing with a magnificent intonation and a solid ensemble work with Cristián Gutiérrez’s percussion and Eduardo Rubio’s double bass. More suggestive was the handling of harmonies and vocal dynamics shifting from a delicate sound at a very low volume (pianissimo) to louder ones, although the invitation was always to enter into a withdrawn, whispering, and almost quiet intimacy. A sublime moment was their “a cappella” performance of “Demasiado tarde”, a summary and epitome of their vocal invention. Elegant, refined and almost always delicate, the vocal trio also articulated those Latin American devices of hyperbolic feeling, the idealist Platonisms enraptured in the exaltation of erotic spite – romantic and idealized – and sensual mystery.
The performance was so evocative and convincing at times that it seemed we were in a different era, in a journey through that cartography of the calm, the restraint and the slowness which is alien to the liquid, urgent and fleeting post-modernity. On the contrary, this cadence, which was pure past, was epitomized in the performances of “Cómo fue”, “Vanidad” and “La hiedra”, whereas the jazzistic “filin”, the announcement of temporality, of the sensual and undulating groove came with “La gloria eres tú”, “No me platiques más”, “Cómo fue” and the magnificent “Noche no te vayas”, with quotations to those extraordinary bands Tres Ases and Tres Diamantes from México. Although the ensemble paid a well-deserved tribute to Chilean bolero with performances of “Para que no me olvides” and “Vanidad”, they should consider to include “Noche callada” by Jaime Atria, recognized was one of the best national songs of all time.
The quintet was able to find a fair balance in a program shared with the Concepción Symphony which performed simple, uncomplicated orchestrations in an Impressionist style at times, of suggestive timbre and color. That was enough to allow the bolero and song to shine in all splendor, as well as the requinto guitar masterfully played by Cristóbal González. Maestro Rodrigo Tapia contributed an attractive orchestral overture as a prelude and preparation for the rite that followed. The sound was also outstanding. Not at all an easy task, the amplification accomplished a surrounding, balanced sound without exaggerating the volume, underlining the different sound plans of the trio and the orchestra.
The Concepción Symphony Orchestra continues expanding its popular music series, and it’s evidently moving toward the Latin American repertoire after the successful concerts devoted to Chilean music. This time, with La Flor del Recuerdo, they were able to enthrall with the euphony and sensuality of bolero, an imaginary of emotions – songs that resist oblivion and still touch the hearts of a whole continent.