Turina, Debussy

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COMPOSERS: Debussy,Turina
LABELS: Telarc
WORKS: Danzas fantàsticas; Sinfonia sevillana; La procesión del Rocio, Ibéria
PERFORMER: Cincinnati SO/Jesús López-Cobos
There’s more to this disc than a collection of musical souvenirs. The difference between Turina and Debussy is the difference between a capable, often enjoyable nationalist and a composer whose nationally inspired works achieve so much more than the evocation of local colour. Where Turina is content to paint his native Spain in sounds, Debussy makes his impressions the starting point for a more probing artistic adventure, creating new colours and textures, woven together with a strange, dream-like logic. Those who like their Debussy vague and misty may find the clarity of both Jesús López-Cobos’s direction and the Telarc recording off-putting. But for me it was exhilarating to hear virtually every detail of Debussy’s fabulous orchestration, even if this wasn’t ultimately the kind of performance I’d want to go back to for repeated listening. Composition students may learn things from it, the ordinary listener rather less. The Turina is played with panache, the colours bright and immediate. It would be the ideal soundtrack for a lavish Technicolor travelogue – you can almost hear the honeyed voice-over in the central Guadalquivir movement of the Sinfonia sevillana. It’s just a shame the better piece doesn’t get the best performance. Stephen Johnson