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Ruperto CHAPÍ (1851-1909)
Symphony in D (1879) [40:51]
Overture - Roger de Flor, opera (1878) [12:12]
Scherzo - Combate de Don Quijote contra las ovejas (1878) [8:01]
Orquestra de l'Academia del Gran Teatre del Liceu/Guerassim Voronkov
rec. 3-4, 17-18 January 2007, Sala de l’Orquestra de l'Academia del Gran Teatre del Liceu. DDD


Experience Classicsonline

The recording industry of Spain, rather like that of France, woke up late in the day to the true breadth of their own musical heritage. Chapi is known as a composer of numerous zarzuelas - a genre which has always had a strong popular following. Many of these were recorded in the days of the 78 and LP.

Chapí’s symphonic works here receive some very welcome attention. His four movement and forty-plus minute Symphony is obviously ambitious. The Beethovenian mantle rests weightily but with beneficent glory on its shoulders. We can hear shades and shreds of the Eroica and Fifth symphonies. These jostle elbows alongside Schubertian lyricism. Without in any way diluting pleasure in this attractive writing this blend of ‘voices’ is most clear in the first and last movements. Although there is a Haydn-like delicacy about the Presto (III) it is restless with a romantic-bucolic Beethovenian spirit; the composer casting adoring glances towards The Pastoral. One may also think in terms of Méhul and Weber. 

The meaty overture to the opera Roger de Flor dates from 1878. It is alive with inventive wind writing and evinces magical attention to lyrical interplay. The music has some of the contained, tense and expectant deliberation of Beethoven's Egmont. At the close a certain tramping triumph might well also bring Berlioz to mind. 

The Don Quijote scherzo adopts the Weberian device of a quiet tense introduction with brass fanfares and some wonderful interplay with the harp and violins. It then flings caution to the wind with some whoopingly gawky allegro business complete with whip-crack or was that a thin-sounding woodblock. An oboe sings out its melancholia at the end. It is answered by the clarinet - a pastoral idyll of sleep on a grassy hillside. The piece ends with a startling final snap. This is oddball stuff but fascinatingly intricate. 

All the works are played here with fervent commitment beyond any suggestion of dutiful attention to an academic reference revival project. 

The notes by Albert Ferrer i Flamarich whet the appetite to hear more of the orchestral and choral pieces. This CD will do nothing to dampen enthusiasm for Chapí's work.

Rob Barnett


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