Falla: El amor brujo; Seven Popular Spanish Songs; Homenajes; Dances from The Three-Cornered Hat

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COMPOSERS: Falla
LABELS: Dorian
WORKS: El amor brujo; Seven Popular Spanish Songs; Homenajes; Dances from The Three-Cornered Hat
PERFORMER: Marta Senn (mezzo-soprano)Simón Bolívar SO of Venezuela/Eduardo Mata
CATALOGUE NO: DOR-90210 DDD
Though some ambient noise is audible, the sound on this collection is appropriately bright and immediate. The conductor was a dedicated proponent of Latin-American as well as Spanish music, and his death in a plane crash in January was a sad loss.

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These performances are vibrant, imbued with rhythmic life and, where necessary, an almost sexual charge (and Falla’s music can be very sexy). The macho swagger of ‘The Miller’s Dance’ from The Three-Cornered Hat is palpable, but no less real is Mata’s infinitely graceful way with ‘The Neighbour’s Dance’. His Venezuelan orchestra, based in Caracas, is accomplished, and notable for the aromatic flavours of its woodwind.

Much of the repertoire is well known, but not the rare suite Homenajes. In these pieces composed at various points in Falla’s life he expressed his homage to four associates in musical terms: Debussy and Dukas are placed alongside the conductor Fernández Arbós and Felipe Pedrell, his own teacher, whose enthusiasm for Wagner finds an echo here.

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The powerful and vivid mezzo-soprano of Marta Senn proves ideal for Falla’s folksong arrangements (heard in Luciano Berio’s spruce orchestral versions), though the otherwise impeccable booklet quotes Berio’s birthdate (1925) as the date of his orchestrations themselves. George Hall