WORKS: Serenata; Romanza; Miniatures
PERFORMER: Andorra National CO/Gerard Claret
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5570
Using the famous Bullfighter’s Prayer as a hook, the 15-strong Andorra strings are well placed to catch and gratify listeners who would look blank at the names of Joan Manén and Ricard Lamote de Grignon. Both these Catalan composers were active earlier in the 20th century, and each has an greatest hit’ with an eloquent slow piece. For Manén it is the Romanza, beautifully crafted as it moves from a Mendelssohnian opening to the richness of Dvorák and beyond, the highlight of seven not-so-small Miniatures that mostly match quirky titles to neo-Baroque dances.
Grignon’s Monocromies have their lyrical moments – completely so in the central Lento – and otherwise a tendency to be catchy or scratchy by turns. The playing too is at its best in shaping intensely slow or spacious music, a touch scruffy at speed though a very clear and alive recording makes amends. Turina does well by the orchestra, which feels at one with the Oración’s progress from subdued nervous energy to soulful strength. The Serenata, its companion piece, dances between finely judged tremolandi and passionate expression, and the other two works really are miniature, with solo violin in Rodrigo’s case and rather Elgarian in Turina’s. Robert Maycock