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Fuenllana: Orphenica Lyra / Moreno, Orphenica Lyra

Fuenllana / Orphenica Lyra / Moreno
Release Date: 03/29/2011 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 80204  
Composer:  Miguel de Fuenllana
Performer:  Nuria RialCarlos Mena
Conductor:  José Miguel Moreno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orphénica Lyra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

FUENLLANA Orphénica Lyra: Selections José Miguel Moreno (vihuela); dir; Orphénica Lyra GLOSSA GCD 920204 (60:55 )


The Libro de mùsica para vihuela intitulado Orphénica Lyra is one of the most Read more important vihuela publications of the 16th century. The work of the blind vihuelist Miguel de Fuenllana, it appeared in 1554 bearing a dedication to "Philip, Prince of Spain, King of England (1554 was the year of Philip's short-lived marriage to Mary Tudor) and Naples." Fuenllana, who subsequently entered into the service of Philip II, was rated one of the best performers of the day, so skilled that he was apparently even capable of playing on an untuned instrument. His ambitious and extraordinarily diverse Orphénica Lyra contains 188 works spread over six books that include both his own compositions and arrangements of works by some of the most popular composers of the period, among them Josquin (with 13 works, second in quantity only to Morales), in addition to those listed above.

While it is not unusual to come across the odd piece from the publication on recital discs, the present issue is the first I've encountered to be wholly devoted to Orphénica Lyra. Only two original works by Fuenllana himself are included, the remainder of the program being devoted to his arrangements, in themselves rearranged for the vocal and instrumental ensemble that bears the name of the publication. There cannot, of course, be the slightest aesthetic objection to such a procedure, although given that Moreno is probably the greatest vihuelist of his day, it might have been agreeable to hear him play a few more solo tracks. Such regrets, though, are soon banished by the sheer quality of these performances. How well this group works together! The opening track, an extract from Flécha 's well-known ensalada La Bomba featuring the entire group of soprano Nuria Real, countertenor Carlos Mena, three violas da gamba, recorder, Renaissance guitar, gentle percussion, and Moreno's vihuela, displays a lively idiomatic approach symptomatic of what follows. Few of the tracks are quite so fully scored, and for me some of the highlights of the disc are the captivatingly lovely songs by Juan Vazquez, surely the greatest of all 16th-century Spanish song-composers, and the name most frequently represented. Also here is Sermisy's famous chanson Tant qui vivray in a fascinating arrangement, one of the few in which Fuenllana allowed himself instrumental embellishment.

The production is well up to Glossa's usual high standard, with splendid sound, and an exemplary note by Ivan Moody. A splendidly varied collection that by turn delights, seduces, and haunts the mind. Strongly recommended.   

FANFARE: Brian Robins Reviewing Glossa 920204
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Works on This Recording

Orphenica lyra by Miguel de Fuenllana
Performer:  Nuria Rial (Soprano), Carlos Mena (Countertenor)
Conductor:  José Miguel Moreno
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orphénica Lyra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1554 

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