I’m not sure I can discern a thread that links Praga’s
reissue programme of late. In general it calls on a wide range of source
material, from an equally wide range of concert venues. In the case of this
Falla disc, its time frame is 1955-62 and it presents some very
well-established recordings, almost all of which will be known to those
interested in the more historic nature of the composer’s discography.
El Amor brujo
heard in the 1955 Geneva recording
made by Ansermet and the Suisse Romande. It’s a distinguished reading,
though it remains somewhat on the cool side colouristically and
rhythmically. Ansermet’s direct, unperfumed style brings out
instrumental strands with great precision and he provides good support for
the feisty and under-appreciated mezzo Marina de Gabarain, whose singing and
idiomatic approach alike are both excellent. Once a Decca staple it makes a
good showing here. The Concerto for Harpsichord is played in 1957 by Robert
Veyron Lacroix who was a busy recording artist at the time. The ensemble is
directed by Ataulfo Argenta. Though best remembered for his recordings of
the French repertoire, Veyron-Lacroix relishes the Baroque-tinged energy of
the music and responds in allied style. This evocative performance sits well
in the collection.
A fairly obvious choice for inclusion is the Siete Canciones
in the 1961-62 recording by Victoria de los
Angeles and Gonzalo Soriano, both musicians very well attuned to the
music’s syntax. It also made sense to include Alicia de
Larrocha’s early 1958 recordings in Barcelona of the Four Spanish
and Fantasía Baetica.
This last named was written
for Arthur Rubinstein. The 1958 recording is rather recessed, even for the
time, and Praga hasn’t been able to focus the piano sound optimally -
not that they’re accountable for its original deficiencies.
The notes lead with a biographical column on de los Angeles and
La vida breve
, for some reason, and then go on to discuss
Falla’s works, without reference to any other musician or recording.
Odd. Nevertheless this compilation of material offers a slice of the Falla
discography in the late mono/early stereo era. The transfers are good.