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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Spanish Classics: Preludes and Choruses from Zarzuelas
Ruperto CHAPÍ (1851-1909)

El tambor de granaderos: Preludio (1894) (5:23)
El rey que rabió: Coro de doctores (1891) (3:05)
Francisco Asenjo BARBIERI (1823-1894)
El barberillo de Lavapiés: El noble gremio... (1874) (6:15)
Gerónimo GIMÉNEZ (1854-1923)
El baile de Luis Alonso: Intermedio (1896) (3:32)
La boda de Luis Alonso: Intermedio (1897) (5:44)
Federico CHUECA (1846-1908)
Agua, azucarillos y aguardiente: Preludio (1897) (2:35)
El chaleco blanco: Seguidillas (2:10)
El bateo: Preludio (3:14)
Amadeo VIVES (1871-1932)
Bohemios: Preludio (5:20)
Manuel Fernández CABALLERO (1835-1906)
El dúo de la africana: Se marcha furioso... (1893) (3:11)
Pablo LUNA (1880-1942)
El niño judío: Preludio (1918) (4:30)
Trumpet solo, César Asensi
Reveriano SOUTULLO (1880-1933) and Juan VERT (1890-1931)
La leyenda del beso: Intermedio (1924) (5:27)
La del soto del parral: Ronda de enamorados (1927) (4:28)
Jesús GURIDI (1886-1961):
El caserío: Act II Prelude (1926) (6:13)
Pablo SOROZÁBAL (1897-1988):
Don Manolito: Ensalada madríleña (1942) (3:22)
Comunidad de Madrid Orchestra & Chorus/Miguel Roa
Notes in English, Français and Castellano
Recorded in Auditorio de las Rozas, Madrid, Spain, May 1999
NAXOS 8.555957 [64.34]



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If you like to put on a disk of Gilbert & Sullivan excerpts when friends come round you could have some fun with this disk. Put the G&S disk and this one in your CD changer and press random play. Turn the volume down so the words can't quite be understood. See how long it takes someone to notice. The most likely piece to raise a flag will be the most famous zarzuela excerpt of all time, Giménez' La Boda de Luis Alonso. Yet, while many people will find the music familiar, many of them may be prepared to believe, castanets and all, that G&S wrote it! Others may find the echoes of Rossini persuasive - The Barbieri sounds like a steal from the opening chorus of La Cenerentola. But most of this music is from a much later time, some of it after WWI!

An odd thing about this disk is that it doesn't sound so awfully 'Spanish.' I'm more familiar with this kind of music played by Mexican orchestras and American orchestras conducted by Mexicans, and they put a lot more traditional Iberian fire into the performance, the 'Spanish style' as we've been taught it by Frenchmen and Russians. These Spanish on the other hand tone all that down and play it more conservatively. The pieces are well selected to present a wide range of styles. The orchestra is a true symphonic ensemble, not a semi-amateur pit band, the soloists are well into character, and the chorus is also fully professional. The recording is clear, with a natural theatrical perspective, and the instruments are well separated. Percussion accents are not obtrusive. The trumpet solo by César Asensi deserves special note.

Paul Shoemaker



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