Lagrimas, Amor…

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Sebastián Durón
LABELS: Pan Classics
ALBUM TITLE: Lagrimas, Amor…
WORKS: Soprano arias
PERFORMER: Eva Juárez (soprano); A Corte Musical/Rogério Goncalves
CATALOGUE NO: Pan Classics PC 10320

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Sebastián Durón enjoyed a brief period of fame in Madrid from around 1696. It ended abruptly when he backed the wrong party in the War of Spanish Succession, was caught stealing scores from the Royal Chapel, and found himself stylistically outdated by imported Italian and French music. His recent rediscovery has revealed some exquisite music, particularly among his Zarzuelas or semi-operas. A special characteristic is a solo line falling slowly and chromatically, often above quite abrupt and inventive harmonic twists from string and continuo accompaniment. The aria, ‘Ondas, riscos, peces, mares’ (Waves, crags, fish, seas) from 1706 has haunted me for days; Eva Juárez’s crystalline voice floats gently down over single strings, Spanish harp and guitar  – breath-taking.

Songs are interspersed with instrumental dances, again coloured with exotic Spanish plucked strings and percussion. An anonymous Españoleta, clearly earlier than the rest, features the four-square foot-tapping rhythms recalling an English Renaissance dance – a delightful interlude. Another haunting device, the Chaconne, supports two instrumental movements, one fading away at the end to leave the repeated harmonies still revolving in the listener’s memory.

The programme is framed by energetic songs teeming with cross-rhythms in the lively style of the Villancico. This is an endearing, often revelatory recording, and comes warmly recommended.

George Pratt

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Click here to listen to an extract from this album.