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Arde El Furor Intrepido

Iribarren / Torrens / Espada / Fasolis
Release Date: 09/11/2012 
Label:  Obs (Classical)   Catalog #: 1   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Juan Frances de IribarrenTorrens JaymeJayme TorrensErnest Torrence
Performer:  José Hernández-pastorMaria Espada
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IRIBARREN Arde el furor intrepido. Cantatas: Prosique acorde lira; Nebado Alberque; Alegrese la tierra. TORRENS Villancicos: Guiados de una Estrella; Soberano Señor; O! Adalid invencible Diego Fasolis, cond; María Espada (sop); José Hernández-Pastor (ct); Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla (period instruments) OBS PROMETEO 01 (67:19 Text Read more and Translation)


It is almost a sure bet that few have heard of Juan Francés de Iribarren (1699-1767), organist at the cathedral in Malaga, or his successor Jayme Torrens (1741-1803). Indeed, few know that Malaga had any reputation beyond some picturesque old buildings and a nice sunny vacation spot for perennially pale northern Europeans. It was, however, one of the most significant musical centers of Iberia during the 18th century, when it was dominated by the work of these two composers. Iribarren was possibly of Basque heritage (his final matrilineal name is Echevarria). Born in Sangüesa in Navarre, he was educated in Madrid and was appointed to the post of organist in Salamanca at the age of 18, before obtaining the post of maestro de capilla at Malaga in 1733. There he not only organized the church archives, he also wrote almost 1,000 sacred works. Torrens was born in Malaga, though his family came from Majorca. He won an appointment on Iribarren’s recommendation as an organist in Cordoba, and was officially appointed as his mentor’s successor in 1770, the governing body having discerned that he was of (and those with political correctness on their minds should hide your eyes now) “an old Christian family clean of any bad race, unblemished by blacks, Jews, mulattos, or heretics.” Ahem. Whatever the reasons for his appointment, he continued the prolific sacred music composition of his predecessor, eventually writing hundreds of works, though he himself favored the villancico, a sort of seasonal cantata-like work generally consisting of a recitative and an aria, with the occasional duet and instrumental introduction.


That virtually none of this is available on disc is not surprising, for the archives are largely untouched and few ensembles have taken an interest. There is an Iribarren ensemble that over the past two years has begun recording chamber works (available downloaded or in the cloud), but these don’t include anything by the composer at all (perhaps this is in the future). For Torrens, there is nothing, nada , so the three villancicos recorded here are premieres.


While one is tempted, as the rather extensive booklet essay notes (replete with numerous musical examples in Spanish, French, and English), to ascribe the works as being written under Italian influence, I find a considerable amount of lyrical originality. Most are for voices and strings, though the agitated furore aria Arde el furor intrepido from which the disc takes its name, and the villancico Guiados de una Estrella do add a pair of horns (and for the non-Spanish speakers, trompas means horns, but trompetas or clarines means trumpets). It is a vocal tour de force that one could imagine the great Farinelli using to show off his castrato skills. The use of ostinato horns is a bit like in the opening chorus of C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat, punctuating the rhythm for the skirling string tremolos and soaring vocal line. The first cantata Prosique acorde lira , written a decade earlier, is more sedate, opening with a rather old-fashioned church symphony consisting of a “toccata” that is reminiscent of Corelli in its sequenced imitation and a fine short fugue. The final aria of this piece has a decidedly Spanish flavor, with strumming strings and highly idiosyncratic rhythms. It also veers away from the home key frequently in twisting modulations that seem more modal than tonal, sending it down an adventurous path ending on a final trill. This same Iberian sound can be found in the final duet of the last cantata, with its expostulation of “Ay!” in a jaunty Minor key. The Torres villancicos are more modern, reflective of the influence of Naples and the Neapolitan opera seria. O! Adalid invencible has a gentle minuet feel with a tortuous violin line and sometimes very high tessitura, all of which makes for a thrilling listen.


As for the performances, soprano María Espada has a gorgeous, flexible voice that handles the wide ranges and expression brilliantly. Countertenor José Hernández-Pastor is a bit more restrained but sings with a pure tone that blends well both with his colleague and the sonorous textures of the ensemble. Diego Fasolis (who looks a bit like Uncle Fester from the Adams Family in the booklet photo as he peers over the music stand with arms outspread) keeps discipline within the ensemble, allowing the music itself to form the interpretation. In the recitatives, it is all about textual flow, making the music come alive with intensity, while in the arias he lets the musicians loose to accommodate the often tortuous lines with complete ease and perfection. Iribarren and Torres are both first-rate composers whose works need much more exposure, and the Baroque Orchestra of Seville is just the ensemble to do it. Every 18th-century collection should have this disc and it is a strong possibility (even though early in the season) to be on my Want List for the coming year.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Arde el furor intrepido by Juan Frances de Iribarren
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
2.
Prosique acorde lira by Juan Frances de Iribarren
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
3.
Nebado Alberque by Juan Frances de Iribarren
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
4.
Alegrese la tierra by Juan Frances de Iribarren
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
5.
Soberano Señor by Jayme Torrens
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
6.
O! Adalid invencible by Jayme Torrens
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
7.
Guiados de una Estrella by Ernest Torrence
Performer:  José Hernández-pastor (Counter-tenor), Maria Espada (Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 

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