APRIL 2015: RAY'S ROUND-UPAPRIL 2015: RAY'S ROUND-UP
By RAY PICOT
I’ll start this month with Granados and 2 releases which attempt to flesh out his orchestral works: Tritó present an excellent recording of Jaime Martín and the Orquestra de Cadaques of a Goyescas Suite (taken from the piano work rather than the opera) orchestrated very convincingly by Albert Quinovart, and coupled with Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite (TD00108). I really enjoyed this and though it will not supplant the originals it offers an attractive suite which could easily find its way into the orchestral repertoire. The second recording is a hypothetical completion of a Piano Concerto for which the composer mainly left sketches of a first movement. Composer, pianist and conductor, Melani Mestre utilises several solo piano works as a basis of the final two movements including the Allegro de concierto as the finale. He is accompanied by Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Hyperion CDA67918. The release forms part of the label’s Romantic Piano Concerto series which couples Granados appropriately with Albéniz who is represented by the early Concerto fantástico and Spanish Rhapsody. This is not released until 5 May so I’ve not had a chance to hear the recording but as part of Hyperion’s consistent Romantic Piano Concerto it should be worthy of investigation.
Two more enterprising Tritó recordings are worth exploring: the first is a fine collection of orchestral rarities by Catalan composers who were part of the 'Renaixença' cultural movement at the end of 19th century, entitled Albes and Danses: Musica simfonica de la Renaixença (TD00105). Music of Felip Pedrell, Josep Rororeda, Antoni Nicolau and Amadeu Vives are presented most convincingly once more by Jaime Martín with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona and Nacional de Catalunya. The second takes us into the realm of chamber music and the Music of Spanish Composers in Exile, in which Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet) and Juan Carlos Garvayo (piano) present a fascinating collection of quite varied works of Roberto Gerhard, Rodolfo Halffter, Julián Menéndez, Julian Bautista and Jesús Bal y Gay (TD00110)
Staying with chamber music, Naxos complete their recordings of the complete string quartets (8572462) by the Basque composer, Andrés Isasi. The Isasi quartet couple Quartets 1 and 5 with the Violin Sonata in F minor played by Marta Zabaleta maintaining the high standard of the two previous instalments (8572463 and 8572464). Isasi’s idiom is influenced by Germanic styles but with a definite Basque flavour.
Another rarity to be issued is a little-known secular cantata of Villa-Lobos sung in the Nheengatu language, titled Mandu-Carara, and it accompanies two much larger works, the well-known ballet, Uirapuru and his last completed Symphony, No. 12. This forms the fourth release in Naxos' growing symphony cycle (8573451) and once more Isaac Karabtchevsky leads the excellent Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra with additional choral forces.
If you would like to investigate the imaginative music of Padre Antonio Soler, Brilliant Classics release a Dutch 9-CD set (95143BR) for just over £20, collecting a representative selection of the numerous keyboard Sonatas under the expert hands of Pieter-Jan Belder (who has already traversed many of the Scarlatti sonatas) played on harpsichord and forte piano. This is coupled with the 6 Concertos for 2 Organs played by Maurizio Croci and Pieter van Dijk.
Staying with early music there is a very good new recording of Fancesc Valls’ Missa Scala Aretina coupled with a selection of representative choral works. This is a piece well worth getting to know and the music is very convincingly presented by La Grande Chapelle under Albert Recasens on Lauda LAO14. Finally two bargain Glossa discs which look worth investigating: Pedro Escobar’s Missa in Granada (in fact a reissue from another label) is sung by Ensemble Cantus Figuratus, directed by Dominique Vellard on GCDC 800152. Whilst a varied collection of music by Gaspar Sanz, Juan Hidalgo, Antonio Martín y Coll, Jose Marín, Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz, Francisco Guerau and Sebastián Durón is presented under the banner Music from the Time of Velázquez on GCDC 80201.
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