LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Accis y Galatea
PERFORMER: Marta Almajano, María Luz Álvarez (soprano), Lola Casariego, Xenia Meijer, Marina Pardo, Marisa Roca (mezzo-soprano), Ricard Bordas (countertenor), Jordi Ricart (baritone); Al Ayre Español/Eduardo López Banzo
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77522 2
Accis y Galatea was first performed in the Royal Palace in Madrid in 1708. It quickly became one of the most famous of zarzuelas, the Spanish music-drama form that flourished in the late Baroque. Zarzuelas were a blend of sung and spoken episodes, usually performed by women actors who took both male and female roles. In the hands of Antonio Literes, director of court music, the zarzuela’s musical content became increasingly sophisticated: he wove together French and Italian influences with Spanish traditional and vernacular musics, creating fast-moving scores that smoothly integrated a brilliant array of song-forms.
This version of Accis y Galatea (which omits the spoken episodes) is the seventh release in Al Ayre Español’s excellent survey of Spanish Baroque music. The care and expertise lavished on previous discs is again evident, with Marta Almajano’s fine Galatea receiving vivid support from Lola Casariego’s Acis, Xenia Meijer’s Glauco and the small group of instrumentalists. The result is a bravura performance: ancient lamento, folk seguidillas and Italianate da capo arias jostle together, guitars and castanets mingle with obbligato violins. And all are carried along in a thrilling rhythmic flow that leaves the listener giddy with pleasure while confirming Literes as one of the Baroque’s major composers.