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Espana! - Albeniz, Falla, Mompou, Ravel, Rodrigo


Release Date: 03/12/2013 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 2908530   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Manuel de FallaMaurice RavelFederico MompouJoaquin Rodrigo,   ... 
Performer:  Ginesa OrtegaJoan MartinJoan CaberoInaki Fresan,   ... 
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barcelona Teatre Lliure Chamber OrchestraGranada City OrchestraBadalona Children's Choir
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

From the late 19th century onwards, following in the wake of Goya, Spain experienced a creative explosion that was to manifest itself in all the arts, including music. This set is an invitation to discover these composers who transcribed the innermost depths of their country's soul in works that were nonetheless closely related to developments elsewhere in Europe – hence the presence here of Ravel, the most Spanish of French musicians, alongside de Falla, Albéniz, Rodrigo, and Mompou.

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Ravel: Works for Violin and Piano
Who would have thought that a disc devoted to Ravel's music for violin and piano was possible? Well,
Read more it is, if you propose to include these transcriptions of Kaddisch (by the composer) and the better-known Pièce en forme de habanera (as arranged by Fritz Kreisler, says the booklet), which were both originally vocal pieces, and the one-movement sonata of 1897 which only saw the light of publication in the Ravel centenary year of 1975. 1 first heard this early sonata a dozen years ago in an Oxford recital by Gidon Kremer and felt it to be an inadequate piece that did the composer little credit, but I've come to think slightly better of it, and despite its diffuse character it perhaps just deserves to take its place in the Ravel canon. This warmly lyrical performance does all that can be done for music which has more well-intentioned gesture than substance, as the composer knew when he consigned it to the oblivion from which pious musicology has rescued it.

The real Ravel Sonata (I refuse to call it No. 2) is a very different matter, a late work that took a while to write and has an edgy, uneasy beauty wholly characteristic of the composer in his last period. This is a sincere account, not as painfully prickly as it should be, but pleasantly lyrical. Kaddisch is one of the composer's Deux melodies hCbraiques, the Jewish prayer for the dead that is here redolent of deep feeling, though it is better still when sung with its Hebrew text.

I think that Tzigane with all its gypsy élan and virtuosity would have been better at the end of the programme than coming next, as it does here. But Regis Pasquier and Brigitte Engerer bring to it passion and fire, and Pasquier is equal to its technical demands while not giving us the extra frisson that the finest players can--it is a touch deliberate. The Habanera has some sensuous lilt, but again the thoughtful playing doesn't go all the way in creating the necessary atmosphere. As for the Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré, no explanation that I've ever read, including the one in this booklet, has shown me how you can translate these five letters into musical notes, but Ravel wrote a pleasing little piece on the ones that he thought they could become. The recording of all this music is a little larger than life, but agreeably rich.

-- Gramophone [8/1992]

Mompou: Musica Callada
Federico Mompou's Musica Callada (Music of Silence) consists of 28 pieces grouped into four books, ranging in length from less than a minute to slightly more than four. The works are not, obviously, all that silent, nor do they tax the listener's patience with endless repetition or static colors and harmonies. In fact, there's quite a bit of variety here, but it takes place within the framework of a certain exquisite simplicity of utterance that's very special, and very beautiful. The most noteworthy aspect of the music is its harmonic range, running from the highly dissonant to the most folk-like, even primitive.

Recordings of the complete set are rare: the composer himself (now on Brilliant Classics) set the standard, and he was followed by Herbert Henck on ECM. Pianophiles may well know of other, more obscure titles, but the bottom line is that the catalog never has contained so many recordings that a good newcomer such as this would not be most welcome.

Playing this music well requires three basic qualities: a beautiful tone, sensitivity to dynamics, and the ability to phrase expressively but without the slightest trace of affectation. That's just what Javier Perianes does, and the result is very persuasive. To hear just how much emotional range Perianes packs into these brief pieces, listen to the contrast between the tiny No. 7 and the following track. Perianes' tone, limpid and warm, suits the music ideally, while his sense of timing and phrasing remain utterly natural, but always flexible. He takes almost exactly the same amount of time overall to get through the set as did Mompou himself (about 69 minutes); Henck is about seven minutes faster and correspondingly more "nervy". Perianes also includes a bonus, in the lovely Trois Variations, and he's excellently recorded. In short, this is a very worthwhile release, featuring a pianist worth getting to know.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Rodrigo: Orchestral Works
Going by their names, I estimate there’s just one Spaniard in the first violin section of the City of Granada Orchestra. It suggests that the orchestra is not as well integrated with the city as it could be, but it makes a good, bright sound, and under the direction of Josep Pons (a Catalan) sounds acceptably idiomatic in music by Rodrigo (a Valenciano). Soloist Marco Socías is a Spaniard all right, albeit resident in Berlin, and excels in his country’s national guitar concerto.

-- BBC Music Magazine

Falla: El amor brujo, El retablo de maese Pedro
"these are first-rate performances and recordings in every way. The version of El amor brujo is the original for chamber orchestra and singer/speaker. Actually, calling Ginesa Ortega a singer may be pushing things, since she clearly possesses an “authentic instrument,“ and she sounds like a sort of Spanish, baritonal Billie Holliday at the end of her career. I love her. When she sings (screams? shrieks?) Ayi! your first impulse is to call the police, or at least an EMS team. In other words, it all means something unusually passionate, and her performance is beautifully supported by the chamber orchestra. Listeners familiar with the fuller, later version of this ballet should be warned that the scenario here is quite different—the music occurs in a different order, and some of the purely instrumental numbers are here represented as spoken melodrama.

The same thing can be said of Master Peter' s Puppet Show, oneof Falla's last and least-known masterpieces, and another utterly enchanting work. It is so frustrating that the man wasn't able to write more. This performance is about as good as they come, particularly with regard to Joan Martin's lovely “boy soprano.“ Highest recommendation."

-- David Hurwitz, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording

1. El amor brujo by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Ginesa Ortega (Voice)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barcelona Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 
2. El retablo de maese Pedro by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Joan Martin (Boy Soprano), Joan Cabero (Tenor), Inaki Fresan (Baritone)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barcelona Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
3. Sonata Posthume for Violin and Piano by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Régis Pasquier (Violin), Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897; France 
Length: 17 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4. Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Régis Pasquier (Violin), Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; France 
Length: 10 Minutes 26 Secs. 
5. Pièce en forme de Habañera by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Régis Pasquier (Violin), Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6. Berceuse sur le nom de Fauré by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Régis Pasquier (Violin), Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7. Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Régis Pasquier (Violin), Brigitte Engerer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1927; France 
Length: 17 Minutes 0 Secs. 
8. Música callada by Federico Mompou
Performer:  Javier Perianes (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959-1967; Spain 
9. Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar by Joaquin Rodrigo
Performer:  Marco Socias Casquero (Guitar)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Spain 
10. Fantasía para un gentilhombre by Joaquin Rodrigo
Performer:  Marco Socias Casquero (Guitar)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; Spain 
11. Música para un jardín by Joaquin Rodrigo
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; Spain 
12. Viejos aires de danza (3) by Joaquin Rodrigo
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granada City Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; Spain 
13. Pepita Jiménez by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Francesc Garrigosa (Tenor), Susan Chilcott (Soprano)
Conductor:  Josep Pons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Barcelona Teatre Lliure Chamber Orchestra,  Badalona Children's Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Spain 

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