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"Sounds of the Basque Country"

Diez melodías vascas (1941)
Miguel A. Gómez Martinez, conductor
José María USANDIZAGA (1887-1915)

Fantasía para violoncello y orquesta (1908)
Asier Polo, cello; Gabriel Chmura conductor
Niccolo ARAMBARRI (1902-1960)
Ocho Canciones populares vascas para soprano y orquesta (1931)
Maria Bayo, soprano; Christian Mandeal, conductor
Andres ISASI 1734-1829

Berceuse trágica para violín y orquesta, Op 22, #1 (1914)
Jonathan Carney, violin; Enrique García Asensio, conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus ESCUDERO (1912- )
El sueño de un Bailaria

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Alborada del Gracioso (1918)
all with the Basque National Symphony Orchestra (Euskadio Orkesta Sinfonikoa)
Booklet essay in Basque, Spanish (Castilian), English, German, and French.
Recorded in San Sebastian, Spain, between IX 1997 and VI 2001.
CLAVES CD 50-2201 [75.56]
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

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Contrary to what the title would lead you to expect, this is not ethnic music, but classical orchestra pieces, many of them arrangements of Basque songs. With the conspicuous exception of the Ravel, the music is generally derivative and insipid, at times annoyingly so. There is an occasional nice bit, such as #3, "religiosa" of the Diez melodías (track 3) or #4, Tun kurrum kutun from the Ocho Canciones (track 15) but then you are frustrated at having no information whatever on the music, text, or composers, only pictures of the orchestra, composers and artists, and the reference to the full CDs. However, since these excerpt disks have the very best bits on them, nothing I heard here would lead me to any effort to hear more of the same. Orchestral playing, solo performances (e.g., Asier Polo, cello, track 11), and conducting are thoroughly competent, occasionally brilliant. What information there is focuses on the orchestra itself, mostly self-congratulation, and by the time this is said in five languages (including Basque) thereís no room for anything else.

Iíll pass this one along to our local Basque Cultural Center; Iím sure theyíll love it and Iíll never miss it.

Paul Shoemaker

Tim Mahon rather liked this disc


CD Price: £ 14.00 - Download Price:
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Ten Basque Melodies
De Ronda
De Ronda
Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra
Eight Basque Melodies
Txalopin txalo
Nere maitia
Atea tan tan
Tun, kurrun, kutun
Arranoak bortuetan
Ainhoarra nimino
Amak ezkondu ninduen
Tragic Berceuse
El sueno de un Bailarin
Alborada del Gracioso

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