ALBUM TITLE: Palomo
WORKS: Nocturnos de Andalucía
PERFORMER: María Bayo (soprano), Pepe Romero (guitar); Seville Royal SO/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557135
Currently based at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the composer-conductor Lorenzo Palomo has his roots in Cordoba, and that city and its culture are dominant features of his music. Everything here is steeped in an immediately recognisable brew of shapely melody, dance rhythms and orchestral colour. There’s a personal, bitonal element but essentially the music follows on from early Falla and has a similar allure.
A solo guitar part for Pepe Romero has made the 45-minute Andalusian Nocturnes his most-travelled work, but newcomers to Palomo would do well to start with the songs. Bright, ardent and persuasive singing from María Bayo floats their arching lines over lightly scored accompaniments that once in a while explode suddenly and briefly. Some of them alternate declamatory, recitative-like vocal episodes with vigorous orchestral interludes. The Nocturnes feature a flamenco influence, but it’s not pastiche: the finale’s handclaps have a 17-beat rhythm. These six pieces give Palomo’s structural powers a more searching work-out, not always to their advantage, and the orchestra too is tested by some surprisingly violent outbursts. Generally, they are at their best when most intimate, and from moment to moment the invention is often a delight, especially when woodwind and guitar converse. Robert Maycock