Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rhapsodie Espagnole (1907) [15:41] Isaac Manuel Francesco ALBENIZ (1860-1909) Iberia (Evocacion; El corpus en Sevilla; Triana;
El Puerto; El Albaicin) (orch. Enrique Fernandez Arbos)
(1907) [30:51] Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El sombrero de tres picos (1919) [32:32]
rec. April 1989, Lukaskirche, Dresden. ADD BERLIN CLASSICS REFERENCE 0013902 [69:03]
recordings of Spanish atmosphere pieces are not unknown.
I think of several Universal anthologies including Margrit
Weber's DG Nights in the Gardens of Spain. However,
the present disc is very good – outstanding, in fact.
case of the Ravel you have probably already opted for Monteux
or Paray or Ozawa and you cannot go far wrong there. Weigle's
approach, aided by a simply magnificent recording is just
perfect. Listen to the slurs in the Habanera and to an atmosphere
that you can cut with a Toledo blade at the start of the Prélude à la
nuit. Examples of this sultry and volatile music-making
abound but the cresting orgasmic wave of the end of Feria is
notably magnificent; such a pity that Weigle was not moved
to record Chabrier's España. For the next piece we
are led yet further into the Peninsula with Iberia.
The gentle Evocación contrasts with the pinnacles,
spires and clamour of bells that seem to throng El Corpus. Triana dances
in gaudy colour but with delicacy to the fore. El Puerto pictures
the harbourside, hectic, noisy, bombastic, confident - predictive
of Ibert's Escales. El Albaicin is a portrait
of Granada's gypsy quarter - busy and tense, explosive and
dangerous. This thirty minute suite deserves far more attention.
It is more of the twentieth century than of the nineteenth
- just in case you were wondering. Arbos's colourful orchestration
makes a fine case for this little heard music.
De Falla's El
Sombrero de tres picos is the most successful of his
ballets. It has the impressionistic refulgence of the Ravel
but a denser and even more muscular capacity for climactic
explosion. Weigle is once again the master of texture,
dynamic and rhythm - hear him as he accelerates the orchestra
out of La Tarde and into the Dance of the Miller's
Wife. Has El Corregidor ever sounded as self-importantly
pompous yet affable than in the hands of Weigle's bassoonist?
The harp-spun and tight-twisted rhythmic work in Las
uvas (The Grapes) is a delight. Dynamic is just
so pleasingly and deliberately gripped by Weigle in The
Miller's Dance. The Danza finale is just as
eruptive as it should be and then as rushingly urgent as
if the whole village boisterously bursts onto the Spanish
countryside with an unstoppable energy. Bass-drum thuds,
flashing woodwind, brusque scudding strings, heaving and
smashing tuttis. Extremely impressive and perfectly judged.
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