Turina’s evocative, shimmering, folk-drenched Andalucían
confections make for orderly programming and splendid listening.
They also invite warmly
textured playing that embodies all the cardinal virtues of an early impressionist-classicist
heritage, lightly worn.
The First Sonata was dedicated to the fine violinist Jeanne Gauthier. It sounds,
in places, oddly like the 1917 John Ireland Second Sonata though its vaguely
Delian references are probably diluted impressionism and incidental. The second
subject is sweetly lyrical but has a touch of the salon style about it as well.
A fine aria lies at the heart of the central movement - in which Eva León’s
soft variegated tone is a decided asset - as do some rather rhetorical late nineteenth
century violinistics - via Sarasate maybe. The finale picks up on Sevillian vigour
- with puckish guitar “thwack” imitations and dancing rhythmic animation.
A decade later he wrote his final numbered sonata, the one by which he is best
known - if he’s known at all for them. The Second Sonata cleaves in part
to the Iberian impressionist model so proudly absorbed earlier in his compositional
life. As before various dance patterns course through the veins of this energising
opus - though one becomes aware that these are less fanciful than of old, and
more sophisticated in their melodic and rhythmic profile and patterns. For example
though Turina employs the Fandango with great skill he fuses it with alternating
relaxed material that ensures a cohesion sometimes lacking in the earlier works.
Throughout we also find that Iberia is spiced with Franck’s oratorical
The third major work here is El poema de una sanluqueña
para violin y piano) which was written before the First Sonata Op.51. This captures
perfectly the sense of allure and reserve, the lyricism and introversion, that
permeates Turina’s Andalucian imagination, here ones wedded powerfully
to female inspirations. The four movements are succinct but spicy, coilingly
descriptive, sultry, and warm. There’s a delicious - in effect - Scherzo,
and subtle colouration and withdrawn wistfulness for the last of the four, The
Rosary In The Church
The Variaciones clásicas
were written just before the Second Sonata.
They employ a raft of dance rhythms, the seguidillas
end in a zapateado
of foot-tapping zest; moods range from melancholy to
driving. Then there’s the modestly sized Euterpe
written much later
in 1942 and chockfull of bracing zest once more.
We’re fortunate in having a number of recommendable versions of Turina’s
works for violin. You don’t need to scratch too deeply to locate Roland
Roberts and Miyako Hashimoto on Meridian CDE84430 or the eminent pairing of Felix
Ayo and Bruno Canino on Dynamic CDS208. I admire the last mentioned, have not
auditioned the Meridian, but will also recommend in particular David Peralta
Alegre and Ana Sanchez Donate on Verso VRS2039. Their programme is somewhat different
giving us the early sonata that Turina soon withdrew, and the Homenaje a Navarra
or El Poema
- so things aren’t directly comparable.
Verso’s acoustic is harder, and the Naxos makes a bigger splash in that
respect. There’s not much between these two pairings interpretatively or
tonally, though perhaps I prefer the greater tightness and urgency of the Verso
pairing in No.2. But with Naxos we have the admirable Jordi Masó, so deeply
immersed in this repertoire, who lends invaluable and expressively bright support.
You won’t be disappointed by this Naxos newcomer; the music is served up
with panache and passion.