The choir “El León de Oro” publishes an impressive album centered on the polyphony of Francisco Guerrero.

COSME MARINA – Culture – Suplemento de La Nueva España – 18/3/21

The Asturian musical interpretation goes through an exceptional moment. Groups and artists are showing a very high level and resisting with boldness and capacity to the attacks of the pandemic. But, without any doubt, there is a formation that has achieved the scepter and has located itself in the national and European vanguard: the choir “El León de Oro“, conducted by Marco Antonio García de Paz, which, in addition, maintains a stable collaboration with the prestigious record house Hyperion and has ahead a spectacular calendar of concerts, in the medium term, in Spain and different European countries.

His latest work for the English label has once again a luxury collaborator, Maestro Peter Phillips. To the presence of one of the great masters of choral music of our time, we must add the enormous success of focusing on the catalogue of the Sevillian musician, much less known to the general public -if we compare it, for example, with Cristóbal de Morales or Tomás Luís de Victoria– and that is not only equal to these, but that their creative path has traits of genius that, through approaches like the one we are dealing with, should permanently relocate it as one of the essential names of the Spanish musical heritage. Phillips himself, in the notes on the album, believes that the problem of his least appreciation lies precisely in the fact that “the music of Guerrero is not known enough”. 

In the monograph we find motets, lamentations, the “Magnificat quarti toni“, and spiritual songs and carols. All this serves to dazzle us before the beauty of a music interpreted with absolute rigor and with such a precise tuning that, at present, I doubt that we can find in another choral group in our country.

To all this we must add that the interpretive vein is abundant in its expression and warm and close, with admirable expositive capacity. The recording of the cisco in the church of the Monastery of San Salvador in Cornellana is no small matter. It effectively contributes to the overall sound balance. The journey that “El León de Oro” proposes us through the legacy of Guerrero is a real treasure. It does not tire to listen to this fascinating music, so well performed, treated with so much respect and that reaches us directly, without shortcuts, fruit of intense work, of an complicity in which the chorus singers and those responsible for training row in the same direction.

El León de Oro” is a privilege for Asturias. It is a far-reaching project that, more than twenty years ago, Marco Antonio García de Paz and a group of chorus enthusiasts started, many of whom are still linked there. Since then it has been growing, slowly, vindicating its presence with results. Faced with so much smoke that is sometimes sold, especially now that mediocrity is pouring through social networks, it is comforting to find this very high level in our region. Hopefully this coral lion will continue to roar and give us joy in the future and leaving absolute references like this last album that now sees the light.