COMPOSERS: Falla & Montsalvatge,Granados,Guridi,Obradors,Turina
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Spanish Songs
WORKS: Songs by Granados, Guridi, Turina, Obradors, Falla & Montsalvatge
PERFORMER: Della Jones (mezzo-soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9277 DDD
Too many non-Spanish singers are awed by these songs. Preoccupied by the problems of phonetics, they neglect the drama and the passion inherent in the words, and concentrate too hard on trying to pronounce them. Not Della Jones. This superlative mezzo-soprano has no such inhibitions; what difficulties she perceives in the texts she skims over. Her voice is authentic and her manner idiomatic, so it hardly matters if each and every syllable is not distinct.
This recording runs the gamut of emotion, and Jones is by turn fiery, ecstatic and desolate. Her wail at the end of the last of Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas is bloodcurdling – she is not afraid to sound ugly – but the effect is thrilling. She is similarly abandoned in the scat-like passages of Montsalvatge’s exuberant Cinco canciones negras. Obradors’s exquisitely tragic songs provide a contrast, requiring singing of the most sensitive and exposed kind, and Granados’s Maja songs, Guridi’s Seis canciones castellanas and Turina’s Poema en forma de canciones complete the recital. Jones’s accompanist, Malcolm Martineau, also turns in an impressive performance.
With so many CDs available by world-class Spanish singers (those by Teresa Berganza and Victoria de los Angeles stand out), it would seem contrary to recommend this above all others, but it is nevertheless an exciting and daring disc, well worth hearing.