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Seen & Heard
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de ARRIAGA (1806-1826)
Obertura No.20 (1821) [12:02]
Herminie (1825) [15:01]
Air d’Oepide (1825) [8:43]
Duo de Ma Tante Aurore (1825) [5:55]
Agar dans le Désert (1825) [18:09]
Stabat Mater (1821) [9:17]
O Salutaris (1821) [4:07]
María José Moreno
Joan Cabero (tenor)
Coro Easo Abesbatza
Euskadio Orkestra Sinfonikoa/Christian Mandeal
rec. San Sebastian, March and June 2006
discography is rightly swelling with new Arriaga recordings.
The fact of his witheringly early death necessarily invites
speculation as to his future compositional direction, had
he been spared, but the more pragmatic response is to savour
what we have. Whereas other discs have, for example, focused
on his highly impressive chamber works this one concentrates
on vocal and choral accomplishments.
Overture No.20 was written when he was fifteen. It’s undeniably
attractive and whilst the playing itself could be neater
there’s no gainsaying the effective masculinity of approach.
At nineteen – he died before reaching twenty – Arriaga wrote Herminie,
a dramatic cantata of real promise. The soloist is María
José Moreno whose light, bright and well-focused soprano
has a welcome youthful expression. There are times when she
overdoes her vibrato – especially on held notes – and this
can overbalance the singing somewhat; as the cantata is set
in French she’s also at a disadvantage linguistically when
compared with Violet Serena Noorduyn on Fuga Libera – a Belgian
production that is sharper on its toes all round than this
one and contains many of the same works.
aria from Oedipe was written in the same year as Herminie – in
fact all the works date either from 1821 or 1825. Tenor Joan
Cabero digs in with vigour and passion but is inclined to
be a touch blustery – admittedly this is a strenuous and
demanding aria but Robert Getchell, singing in the Paul Dombrecht-Fuga
Libera recording, is considerably neater and more convincing.
The duet from Ma Tante Aurore may only be six
minutes in length but it’s one of the most impressive things
here – a theatrically convincing and pertly laid out affair
that makes one wish to hear the whole work to see if it’s
on the same level. The Claves pairing make a good, bold but
ultimately slightly untidy stab at it.
his last completed work Agar dans le Désert is fiercely
dramatic and compelling – well paced in this performance
and sung by Moreno with real flair. The choral pieces were
the product of 1821 – the Stabat Mater is compact,
rather like Cherubini in places and O Salutaris is
rather more conventional, a rather by-rote motet that follows
due procedure without evincing much traces of individuality.
Still, he was only fifteen.
the two it’s the Fuga Libera that takes the palm when decisions
have to be made in the case of substantial overlaps. But
this is a well-documented disc, generously if not always
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