is a collection extracted from previous Telarc recordings. The
CD insert makes this clear by including pictures and catalog
numbers of the original recordings should one become inspired
to buy and explore further. Luckily, Telarc has an excellent
catalog to draw upon, making this a good first introduction
to “music inspired by Spain”.
This CD is mid-prices, about $10 in the US.
is particularly well-served by the guitarists represented here.
Angel Romero and his father Celedonio are part of the “first
family of the guitar”. David Russell would make most people’s
lists of best guitarists who still have much of their careers
ahead of them. Finally, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ)
is without any serious rival for top spot in the world of contemporary
guitar ensembles. Considering the importance of the guitar to
Spanish musical life, it is fitting that it is featured in most
of the works here.
two most recognizable pieces of “Spanish music” were actually
composed by Frenchmen. Ravel’s “Bolero” is not included, but
the LAGQ plays their arrangement of excerpts from Bizet’s opera
about the Gypsy temptress Carmen. They also perform an original
composition by Andrew York (one of their members), based on
the most famous of guitar concertos, Rodrigo’s Concierto
de Aranjuez. It is a worthy composition, though I prefer
Rodrigo’s original. Luckily, we also get the adagio from
that. David Russell whets one’s appetite for the complete concerto,
as do his unlikely accompanists, Erich Kunzel of pops fame and
the Naples (Florida) Philharmonic.
performs two solo guitar pieces that are essential parts of
the instrument’s repertoire: Albéniz’ Asturias - originally
for piano, it has always seemed as if it were written for guitar
- and Tárrega’s Capricho Arabe in beautiful, flawless
performances. Romeros, father and son, play a jota by Granados.
Angel solos in an anonymous Romance. That latter sounds typical
of late nineteenth or early twentieth century solo guitar compositions,
but no further information regarding its provenance is provided.
López-Cobos brought Spanish and Latin American music to the
Cincinnati Symphony, represented here by a bit of de Falla and
an orchestration of Albéniz. That orchestra is better known
for its Bruckner. In these performance they do a good, but not
perfect, job of minimizing their Germanic sound. Erich Kunzel,
however, succeeds again with the Cincinnati Pops, in producing
an authentic Latin sound for a Malagueña by Cuban composer Ernesto
lot can go wrong in assembling a sampler collection, especially
in a market with a million-and-one versions of “Mozart for Babies”.
Telarc has created a quality product. Only two quibbles: they
could have provided some text to introduce these compositions
and performers to newcomers, and as a compilation of previously
released material the price could be lower.