This CD is a real anomaly: a recording of Latin American music for voice and eight cellos that does NOT include Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5! The repertoire presented here is so rich that the Villa-Lobos isn't even missed (and for fans who crave hearing Conjunto Ibérico perform it, the group has recorded it for Channel Classics). All of the pieces are expertly arranged for cello octet by Conjunto Ibérico's conductor Elias Arizcuren and Pablo Escande.
Since the repertoire for cello octet is small and consists almost entirely of arrangements and new works, expect Four Winds, Conjunto Ibérico's 2002 release, to be somewhat eccentric and experimental. Leader Elias Arizcuren and his virtuoso cellists seek a happy medium between the intimacy and clarity of a much smaller chamber group, and the richness and power of a full string orchestra; but such a balance is hard to sustain, and their shifting back and forth feels unsteady. In Terry Riley's Requiem for Adam, the ensemble is pulled between extremes of symphonic density and chamber transparency, and this heavy arrangement seems only to distort the dynamics and textures of the original version for string quartet.