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Available from Brilliant Classics


The Spanish Soul - Teresa BERGANZA

CD 1

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
El corregidor y la molinera
Chamber orchestra of Lausanne/Jesus Lopez-Cobos
Recorded December 1983, Salle Communale d'Epalinges
Seven Popular Spanish songs: El pano moruno. Sequidilla murciana. Asturiana. Jota. Nana. Cancion. Polo
Juan Antonio Alvarez Parejo, (piano)
Recorded October 1986, Church of Seon Switzerland

CD 2
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
La maja dolorosa: 1. La maja dolorosa 2. La maja dolorosa 3 El majo timido. El majo discreto. El tra la la y el punteado
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)
Poems in form of canciones: Dedicatoria. Nunca olvida. Cantares. Los dos miedos. Las locas por amor. Saeta. Dios te salve, Macarena. El Fantasma. Farruca
Jesus GURIDI (1886-1961)
Six canciones castellanas: Alia arriba en aquella Montana. Sereno. Llamale con el panuelo. No quiero tus avellanas.
Como quieres que adivine. Mananita de San Juan
Eduardo TOLDRA (1895-1962)
Six canciones: La zagale alegre. Madre, unos ojuelos vi. Mananita de San Juan. Nadie puede ser dichoso. Cantarcillo Después que te conoci
Juan Antonio Alvarez Parejo, (piano)
Recorded October 1986, Church of Seon. Switzerland

CD 3
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Viola quebrada. Modinha de M de A
Adeus Ema, ‘Minas Geraes’.
Cancao do poeta do seculo XVIII, Alfredo Ferreira
Samba classic, Desejo Guilherme de Almeida
Xangô, Canto fetiche de Makumba do Brasil
Francisco Ernani BRAGA (1868-1945)
O'Kinimba, Cancion de Makumba
Capim di pranta, Cancion Jongo 2'06
Nique-nique-ninhas, Cancion de cuna afro-brasilena
Sao Joao-da-ra-rao, Cancion de ronda infantil, Piani
Engenho novo, Cancion de trabajo, Rio Grande do Norte
A casinha pequenina, Cancion amorosa
Carlos GUASTAVINO (b.1912)
Milonga de dos hermanos Jorge Luis Borges
Hermano, Cancion del Sur
Mi vina de Chapanay, Cueca
La rosa y el sauce, Francisco Silva
Pampamapa, Aire de Huelta
Se equivocó la paloma, Rafael Alberti
Abismo de sed, Zamba
Bonita rama de sauce, Canción
El Sampedrino, Canción Pampeana
Juan Antonio Alvarez Parejo, (piano)
Recorded September 1983, Church of Seon. Switzerland
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 6990 [47'20 + 64'32 + 57'13]

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The year 2005 marks Teresa Berganza’s 70th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion Universal has issued a 4CD set at full price. It incorporates the singer in Falla’s ever-popular Three Cornered Hat and La vida breve as well as arias from operas by Bizet, Mozart and Rossini. Also included, as well as Arie Antiche, are some Spanish songs. What is lacking in the Universal issue is the words or translations. If you have bought that issue, to luxuriate is the vocal art of one of Spain’s greatest singers, you should really go on and purchase this bargain-priced issue by Brilliant. It is a perfect complement. Not only is the price right, and the recordings of a uniformly high standard, but also the repertoire breaks away from the most popular to give a wider perspective on Spanish song and its South American derivatives. The latter will be the least known. Brilliant are to be commended for both the brief biographical details on composers concerned and also giving a synopsis of each of the 21 songs (CD 3 trs. 1-21). The texts of all the songs included on the three discs are given in Spanish.

Teresa Berganza arrived in the operatic firmament like a mini meteor in 1957. Within a year she had appeared in all the major Italian opera houses, at the Vienna State Opera, the Aix and Glyndebourne Festivals and at Dallas, where she sang Neris to Callas’ Medée. Her voice is that of a warm Rossini lyric coloratura mezzo with a range of over two octaves, an easy top, and a rich variety of vocal colours. She was Isolier in Le Comte Ory at La Scala in 1957 and Cenerentola at Glyndebourne two years later. She added Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri later. Her range and capacity for vocal expression enabled her to add, and keep, Mozart’s Cherubino and Dorabella. These two roles were originally written for soprano. Her operatic repertoire was not large. She never attempted the Rossini opera seria with their vocal demands at the lower end of the mezzo voice. By such introspection and circumspection she enjoyed a stage career of over thirty years including a recorded Carmen following performances at the Edinburgh Festival in 1975. This was under Abbado’s baton with whom she also recorded her Cenerentola and second Rosina (both DG). Whilst the light nature of Berganza’s voice limited her operatic roles this was to the benefit of her concert career which always constituted around half of her work. Often accompanied by her husband Felix Lavilla, a distinguished accompanist and father to her three children, her concert repertoire encompassed the great lieder classics and always some Spanish songs, either in the schedule or as encores. In this respect Teresa Berganza parallels her Spanish soprano colleagues Victoria de los Angeles and Montserrat Caballé in their recitals. In EMI’s ‘Very Best’ series, featuring the two sopranos, there are examples of the genre (see links above) particularly the songs of Montsalvatge.

In this collection, the songs by Falla have particular Spanish overtones in their rhythms and construction (CD 1 trs. 3-9). They, like the somewhat lesser known songs on CD 2 enable Berganza to explore and illuminate repertoire that is ideal for her voice with its wide range and rich palette of colour. Above all is the degree of expressiveness that she brings to her perfectly enunciated words. She may have eschewed roles in the opera house that would have put strain on her lower tones with an orchestra as competition. However, with a sympathetic and idiomatic piano accompanist, as found here, she gives full vent to her vocal range and the listener can enjoy its colours and expressive variety to the full. These are the virtues and qualities of Teresa Berganza’s singing that have been her hallmark throughout her career. The South American Spanish songs on CD 3 show attractively display the Spanish lineage and tradition, similar but different in their vibrancy than their Spanish cousins.

This bargain-priced collection of Teresa Berganza’s art, in repertoire that was central to her concert performances, is particularly welcome. It is strongly recommended to lovers of this singer’s outstanding vocal qualities and of her commitment to her own culture.


Robert J. Farr


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