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Lyrita New Recording
Sarah Beth Briggs
Viva el amor – Spanish Love Songs
Manuel de FALLA (1876–1946)
Siete Canciones Populares Españolas: El paño moruno [1:11] Seguidilla
Murciana [1:17] Asturiana [2:13] Jota [3:01] Nana [1:28] Canción [1:07] Polo [1:24]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867–1916)
Seis Tonadillas: La maja de Goya [1:52] El tra
la la y el punteado [1:02] La maja dolorosa [2:01] El
majo timido [2:15] Amor y odio [0:52] El
majo discreto [1:30]
Goyescas: La maja y el ruiseñor [4:58]
Joaquin RODRIGO (1901–1999)
Quattro Madrigales Amatorios: Con qué la lavaré? [1:44] Vos
me matásteis [2:01]
De donde venis, amore? [1:05] De los Alamos vengo,
Joaquin TURINA (1882–1949)
Tres Poemas, Op. 81: Olas gigantes [2:42] Tu
pupila es azur [1:49] Besa el aura [2:02]
Fernando OBRADORS (1897–1945)
Quattro Canciones Clásicas Españolas: Con amores, la
mi madre [1:16] Del cabello más sutil [0:51] El
tumba y le [2:00] El vito [1:47]
Alberto GINASTERA (1916–1983)
Cinco Canciones Populares Argentinas: Chacarera [1:07] Triste [2:26] Zamba [0:55] Arrottó [1:48] Gato [2:05]
Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912–2002)
Dos Canciónes Negras: Canción de cuna para dormir a
un negrito [2:09] Canto negro [1:09]
Carlos GARDEL (1887–1935)
El dia que me quieras [3:48]
Sebastian PIANA (1903–1994)
Milonga Sentimental [1:30]
Agustin LARA (1897–1970)
Jonathan Zak (piano)
rec. September 2006, Clairmont Auditorium, Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Yolanda & David
Katz Faculty of Arts, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Texts and English translations included
More correctly the title of this disc
should have been “Love songs in Spanish”,
since towards the end of the programme
there are a number of songs by South
American composers. It should however
also be pointed out that Ginastera,
although born in Buenos Aires, was the
son of Italian and Catalonian immigrants.
Sebastian Piana, also born in the Argentinean
capital, also had Italian parents. Certainly
Agustin Lara was Mexican but he received
a house in Granada from Francesco Franco
for his songs celebrating Spanish cities.
This leaves Carlos Gardel. His bith
country is uncertain (France or Uruguay)
but was raised in Argentina and became
the most celebrated composer and singer
of Tango music.
The singer on this disc, Sivan Rotem, was also born in Buenos Aires
but is now a citizen of Israel, where she is one of the leading
singers. She has also appeared in concert and opera throughout
Europe, America and Australia.
She and her excellent Israeli pianist Jonathan Zak have put
together an attractive programme with some well-known war-horses.
Mixed in we also get some less often heard but splendid songs
that will probably be valuable additions to some collections.
Among the former are Manuel de Falla’s “Seven Popular Spanish
Songs” as they are translated here. This should really be “Seven
Folk Songs” or “Songs of the People”. There are also the Tonadillas by
Granados and Rodrigo’s charming “Four Madrigals on Love”.
I believe that there are many readers who, like myself, also
appreciate Montsalvatge’s Canciones Negras. My only
regret is that not all five of them were included.
Of the less well-known songs Turina’s Tres Poemas stand
out on account of their dramatic intensity, dark and bold
landscape and elaborate accompaniment. Obradors’ songs are
wholly delightful and Ginastera’s five songs are little gems
in a surprisingly accessible vein, considering how abrasive
some of his orchestral music can be.
Down the years this repertoire has been sung by some of the
most celebrated Spanish singers: Conchita Supervia, Victoria
de los Angeles,
Montserrat Caballé and Teresa Berganza, joined in later years
by Maria Bayo. Competition is keen. Sivan Rotem may not drive
her predecessors out of competition but she performs the
songs in her distinctive way and has a lot to offer. Clearly
she has put much study and reflection into these songs. Her
readings are wholly idiomatic. She has a warm vibrant voice
with plenty of dramatic potential evident in the Turina songs.
Rodrigo’s De los Alamos vengo, madre are sung with
a captivating lilt. Her soft singing is exquisite, Ginastera’s Triste and
Montsalvatge’s delightful offering some of the best interpretations
on the disc. I was initially worried by a certain metallic
hardness to the tone at forte and a widening of vibrato that
at climaxes came close to a beat. It may be that the hardness
is a result of her voice not taking too well to the microphones.
Anyway when I replayed some of the songs that worried me
most I was fully satisfied. Even my wife, who is very sensitive
to excessive vibrato, had no complaints. On the contrary
the more I listened the more I appreciated the liveliness
in the light-hearted songs and the thrill of her climaxes.
The aria from Goyescas shows her deep involvement
and Obradors’ El tumba y le shows her in high spirits.
This song would make a good encore.
The real encores here are also enticing. Gardel’s El dia
quieras – one of his last compositions before he died
in a plane crash – is sung with intimacy and beauty. Piana’s Milonga
Sentimental is lively and charming. Granada,
sung for the first time, as far as I can recall, by a woman
is less showy and has the quality of a declaration of love
to the city.
Sivan Rotem’s disc may not have displaced recordings by
her elders but she has a distinct voice of her own and
is highly attractive.
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