WORKS: Traditional, medieval, renaissance, 19th- and 20th-century songs; Granados &Falla: songs & arias
PERFORMER: Victoria de los Angeles (soprano), various instrumental accompanists, etc
CATALOGUE NO: CMS 5 66937 2 ADD/DDD mono/stereo Reissue (1951-93)
Lionel Salter claims in his informed notes that ‘no singer has done so much to reveal the extent… of her country’s vast treasure-house of song as Victoria de los Angeles’, and the substantial collection itself, recorded over four decades, proves him right. The set of traditional songs from many of Spain’s regions recorded in 1950 in the nicely judged arrangements of the singer’s own guitar teacher, Graciano Tarragó, suffers from limited sound, but here as elsewhere the soprano’s pure, finely tuned singing is lovable.
Much of the set is taken up with songs from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods that suffer to an extent from the now dated feel of the Fifties and Sixties instrumental accompaniments, which were doubtless then state-of-the-art, but no such strictures can be aimed at the group of 20th-century songs with Gerald Moore at the piano, nor the substantial live 1971 New York recital programme with Alicia de Larrocha.
But whatever and – for that matter – whenever she is singing, Victoria de los Angeles remains an artist in whom a refined musicality connects with a rich diversity of human experience, and both the power and the expressive range to communicate it to memorable effect. George Hall