A real pleasure to
welcome this first recording. As long
ago as 1998 in one of my first reviews
(Claves Guridi orchestral collection)
for the site I recommended this work
for recording and now here it is on
the world’s most inexpensive label.
Guridi wrote his Sinfonía
Pirenaica in 1945 and it was premiered
in 1946 by the very same orchestra,
then conducted by Jesús Arámbarri.
The work’s three movements
can be thought of as three days in the
mountains. The portrayal is achieved
through music that has a Slav caste
both ecclesiastical and dancing. Indeed
the Symphony is influenced by the inspirational
voice that runs from Rimsky-Korsakov
and Borodin via Biarent and d’Indy.
If Rimsky’s Russian Easter Festival
might be somewhere in the ‘weave’
then so is the sighing awesome mystery
of the world’s high places. Delius (Song
of the High Hills), Karlowicz (Eternal
Songs) and Novák (In the
Tatras) all quarried a similar vein.
While those three composers distilled
their psyche into nature poems no longer
than thirty minutes each, Guridi allowed
himself more space. His approach is
rhapsodic and discursive and accommodates
a greater variety of mood including
vigorous tambourine-punctuated dancing
(tr. 1 16:30). At 13:20 (tr. 1) a major
and memorable melody appears, part-Elgarian
in its nobility but with a Franckian
sensuousness as in Psyché.
Towards the end of the movement there
is a Baxian determination about the
writing which recalls his Northern
Ballad No. 1.
The second movement
is just as varied but with textures
thinned and more space for solo instrumental
gestures of Ravel-like delicacy. Even
so this is not a conventional central
andante. The moods are almost
as varied as in the first movement.
These rise to a Sibelian tempest at
11:20. The finale is exuberant with
furious squalls coming and going in
these high realms. Then again Guridi
can be playful: at 7:43 there is a sanguine
Nielsen-like surge with harp notes neatly
captured in the foreground of a massive
climax. Bombast gets a look-in for a
moment at 10:20 but for the most part
Guridi sustains a grandeur that harks
back to the first movement.
The Espatadanza is
taken directly from Marco Polo’s complete
recording of the opera Amaya.
The Bilbao orchestra
are in very good form; certainly much
better fettle than for their recording
of Isasi’s Second Symphony on Naxos
8.557584. I see that four session days
were allowed. The investment of time
has paid off. Orchestra and conductor
revel in the fantasy of this rhapsodic
This is an extremely
attractive complement to the earlier
Guridi Naxos collection.
see alos reviews
Woolf and Hubert
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