Ruperto CHAPÍ (1851-1909) Symphony in D (1879) [40:51] Overture - Roger de Flor,
opera (1878) [12:12] Scherzo - Combate de Don Quijote
contra las ovejas (1878) [8:01]
Orquestra de l'Academia del Gran Teatre del Liceu/Guerassim Voronkov rec. 3-4, 17-18 January 2007, Sala
de l’Orquestra de l'Academia del Gran Teatre del Liceu. DDD
COLUMNA MUSICA 1CM0176 [63:04]
The recording industry of Spain, rather
like that of France, woke up late in
the day to the true breadth of their
own musical heritage. Chapi is known
as a composer of numerous zarzuelas
- a genre which has always had a strong
popular following. Many of these were
recorded in the days of the 78 and LP.
Chapí’s symphonic works
here receive some very welcome attention. His four movement
and forty-plus minute Symphony is obviously ambitious. The Beethovenian
mantle rests weightily but with beneficent glory on its shoulders.
We can hear shades and shreds of the Eroica and Fifth
symphonies. These jostle elbows alongside Schubertian lyricism.
Without in any way diluting pleasure in this attractive writing
this blend of ‘voices’ is most clear in the first and last movements.
Although there is a Haydn-like delicacy about the Presto
(III) it is restless with a romantic-bucolic Beethovenian
spirit; the composer casting adoring glances towards The
Pastoral. One may also think in terms of Méhul and Weber.
The meaty overture
to the opera Roger de Flor dates from 1878. It is alive
with inventive wind writing and evinces magical attention to
lyrical interplay. The music has some of the contained, tense
and expectant deliberation of Beethoven's Egmont. At
the close a certain tramping triumph might well also bring Berlioz
The Don Quijote
scherzo adopts the Weberian device of a quiet tense introduction
with brass fanfares and some wonderful interplay with the harp
and violins. It then flings caution to the wind with some whoopingly
gawky allegro business complete with whip-crack or was
that a thin-sounding woodblock. An oboe sings out its melancholia
at the end. It is answered by the clarinet - a pastoral idyll
of sleep on a grassy hillside. The piece ends with a startling
final snap. This is oddball stuff but fascinatingly intricate.
All the works are played
here with fervent commitment beyond any suggestion of dutiful
attention to an academic reference revival project.
The notes by Albert
Ferrer i Flamarich whet the appetite to hear more of the orchestral
and choral pieces. This CD will do nothing to dampen enthusiasm
for Chapí's work.
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John Quinn Seen & Heard Editor Emeritus Bill Kenny Editor in Chief
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