Danzas Puertorriqueñas - Rafael Hernández - Orquesta y Arreglos (Disco Hit - DHCD-9173)
Songs (all instrumental):
Luz María, Dos Estrellas, Mi Estrella, Quejas del Alma, Mi Perla, Sin Ti...Jamás, Perla del Caribe, Llévame al Cine Mamá, María Lina, La Bella Margot, Máscaras Alegres, Lluvia de Perlas
Years ago, I ordered a cassette from the Isla catalog, which featured products representing Puerto Rico. Up to that point, I had a hard time finding any recordings of Puerto Rican danzas that featured an orchestra as opposed to folk instruments such as the cuatro. I liked the danza performed on the cuatro, of course, but I wanted to hear a recording that reflected the intent of danzas to be performed at formal soirée dance settings. I found a cassette of danzas by the late Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández in the catalog and ordered it. When I received it, I realized that I was sent a cassette that wasn't the same one showing in the catalog. Still, I put it on and to my absolute delight, I fell in love with it from the very beginning. The music and arrangements reveal their origins in what sounds like the late 1950s or early 1960s and are played with an infectious energy and a slightly faster tempo than other danzas that I had heard.
Out of all of these, the only song that is slightly lacking for me is Sin Ti...Jamás because there is, for me at least, a tension between the rhythm and the melody that doesn't feel resolved. The others are sheer delights, with Luz María, Dos Estrellas, Perla del Caribe, Llévame al Cine Mamá, and Máscaras Alegres standing out as my favorites.
After wearing out the cassette, I had to purchase the music on CD, which of course I did not regret for one minute. This is an album that has given me hour upon hour of listening pleasure.