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The Complete Conchita Supervia Volume 3 – Odeon/Parlophone 1930-32
see end of review for details
Conchita Supervia (soprano)
CD 1: Languages: French [1-10]; Spanish [11, 16, 18-22]; Montañesa [12]; Catalan
[13-15]; Andalusian [17]; Latin [23] CD 2: Languages: French [1-7]; Spanish [8-9, 11-15, 22, 25]; Italian [10]; English [16-21]; Catalan [23-24]
MARSTON 520602 [73:09 + 79:40]


Experience Classicsonline

This is the third in Marston’s fine series devoted to Conchita Supervia’s complete recordings and takes us from 1929-32. It also covers a wide range of stylistic ground, from Carmen extracts to traditional English songs to ballads.

The first selection is devoted to the Carmen sessions recorded for Spanish Odeon in Barcelona in October 1930. The Supervia vibrato is always a matter for debate, at least for Anglophones, and one can hear it at its fastest and most fluttery in some of these sides. Her generous portamenti are also emblematic of her taste and expressive armoury. Fortunately she had with her the fine tenor Gaston Micheletti. He can – and does – sound a little taxed at the top of his register in Près de remparts de Séville but there are numerous compensatory features – not least his strongly resonant theatrical presence and the provocative interplay with Supervia. In the booklet there is a long article on Supervia’s Carmen written by Michael Aspinall in which he delineates the intricacies of her singing of the role in a broader context and is well worth reading even if you don’t share his views. What is undeniable is that these are indispensable extracts for anyone deeply immersed either in Supervia or the history of the role on record.

The rest of the first of this two-disc set takes in Barcelona sessions made in 1930 and ’31 and a French Odeon session made in Paris in April 1931. The Serranilla [Canción Montañesa] suits her voice perfectly with its eager vibrancy and conversational fluency. It’s instructive to hear her in Mompou – his L’Hora grisa from which she evokes a real sense of torpor. Nin’s arrangement of El paño murciano is vivaciously done as is another of the composer’s arrangements, El vito with its open throated and triumphant conclusion. One thing that a company such as Marston is generous at providing, where possible, is alternative takes. No admirer should spurn the chance to hear the two takes, numbers –1 and –3 of that delicious standby ¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Ay! 

The second disc begins with a sequence of arias. Her Werther is brightly and crisply executed, transposed down a semi-tone, and was never released on 78. The aria from La Bohème is transposed down a whole tone. The examples of her French repertoire are distinctive, valuable and in the case of the two Fausts – Gounod’s and Berlioz’s -from very quiet pressings. They were not issued on 78 and collectors will know they appeared on Historic Masters HMB11, released in the 1970s. There is a long, idiomatic and frequently irresistible sequence of things from the lighter Spanish muse made in Paris in 1931, which also includes a rather kitschy arrangement of a Mendelssohn Song without Words. The selection of English songs contains one real rarity – John Alden Carpenter’s setting of Rabindranath Tagore’s When I bring to you color’d toys from the opera Gitanjali. It too never saw 78 release and made its first commercial appearance on another Historic Masters LP. Ivor Newton is the eloquent accompanist in these sessions, which also include a disarmingly personal Oh no, John with its myriad teasing rubati. She brings drawing room suavity to that echt salon piece, A lesson with a fan. 

Volume three in short happily coincides with the recording of major Carmen extracts, idiomatic Spanish repertoire, unexpected traditional, British songs and general operatic arias and some rarities.  The transfers are as good as ever and along with Michael Aspinall’s note there is a biographical essay on the singer by Desmond Shawe-Taylor.

No further recommendation needed.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review of Volume 2

Track details
CD 1

Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
French Odeon, Paris, 1929, 1930 and 1931
With orchestra, conducted by Gustave Cloëz
L’amour est un oiseau rebelle [Habanera] [4:16]
Près de remparts de Séville [Séguedille] [4:11]
with Gaston Micheletti, tenor
Les tringles des sistres tintaient [Chanson bohème] [3:19]
Attends un peu, Carmen [4:13]
with Gaston Micheletti, tenor
La fleur que tu m’avais jetée [3:26]
solo by Gaston Micheletti, tenor
Non tu ne m’aimes pas [4:08]
with Gaston Micheletti, tenor
Mêlons! Mêlons, coupons! [3:59]
with Andrée Vavon and Andrée Bernadet, sopranos
En vain pour éviter [Scène des cartes] [2:57]
with Andrée Vavon and Andrée Bernadet, sopranos
C’est toi, c’est moi! [3:46]
with Gaston Micheletti, tenor
Mais moi, Carmen je t’aime encore [Finale, Act 4] [4:25]
with Gaston Micheletti, tenor
Spanish Odeon, Barcelona, 24 October 1930
With orchestra, conducted by Antonio Capdevila
Sebastian de YRADIER (1809-1865)
La paloma [3:31]
Spanish Odeon, Barcelona, 24 February 1931
With piano, Alejandro Vilalta
Serranilla [Canción Montañesa] [2:24]
Lamotte de GRIGNON
Cançó de Maria  [2:43]
Els cants dels ocells (Arranged by Joaquin NIN (1879-1949)) [3:25]
Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987)
L’Hora grisa  [2:42]
Spanish Odeon, Barcelona, 25 February 1931
With piano, Alejandro Vilalta
El paño murciano (Arranged by Joaquin NIN (1879-1949)  [1:28]
El vito (Arranged by Joaquin NIN (1879-1949))  [1:40]
French Odeon, Paris, 25 April 1931
With orchestra
El Huesped del Sevillano: Las lagarteranas [2:35]
El relicario [3:04]
Clavelitos [2:08]
Osman PÉREZ-FREIRE (1880-1930)
¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Ay! [3:01]
¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Ay! [3:09]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750)/Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893):
Ave Maria [2:28]
CD 2
French Odeon, Paris, 24 October 1931
With orchestra, conducted by Gustave Cloëz
Jules MASSENET (1842–1912)
Werther (1892) -Va, laisse couler mes larmes [Air des larmes] [2:31]
Transposed down a semi-tone
Georges Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Faust (1852-59) - Faites-lui mes aveux (Gounod) [3:08]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
La Bohème - D’un pas léger [Quando me’n vo’soletta] (Puccini) [2:39]
Transposed down a whole tone.
Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)
Mignon - Connais-tu le pays? (Thomas) [4:26]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila - opera in three acts - Printemps qui commence (1877) [4:23]
Charles GOUNOD (1818–1893)
Faust - Il était un roi de Thulé (1859) [3:35]
French Odeon, Paris, 26 October 1931
With orchestra, conducted by Paul Minssart
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
La Damnation de Faust - Autrefois un roi de Thulé (1846) [4:26]
Rey y señor [3:29]
La partida [4:18]
French Odeon, Paris, 30 October 1931
With orchestra, conducted by Paul Minssart TRADITIONAL
Santa Lucia [2:56]
Alfonso Esperanza OTEO
Mi viejo amor  [3:03]
Pascal GODES
Porque me besó  [3:09]
La pastora  [3:00]
French Odeon, Paris, 31 November 1931
With orchestra, conducted by Paul Minssart Pedro PUCHE
Flor y luz  [2:27]
Felix MENDESSSOHN (1809-1847)
La primavera (from Songs without Words No. 30, op. 62, no. 6) [2:42]
English Parlophone, London, 17 March 1932
With Ivor Newton (piano)
Henry BISHOP (1786-1855)
Should he upbraid  [3:35]
Oh no, John (Arranged by Cecil Sharp) [2:32]
Alfonso FERRABOSCO I (1543-1588)
So sweet is she (“Have you seen but a whyte lillie grow?”) (arr. Dolmetsch) [2:26]
John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951)
When I bring to you color’d toys [No. 1 from the opera Gitanjali] [2:40]
Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970)
Lullaby, op. 57, no. 2  [2:11]
Guy D’HARDELOT (1858-1936)
A lesson with the fan  [3:31]
Spanish Odeon, Barcelona, 21 May 1932
With Pedro Vallribera (piano)
Juan MANEN (1883-1971) 
Flecha  [3:27]
La noia bonica [2:31]
Modeste POMERO
Soleá [3:26]
Esteban FUSTÉ
Háblame de amores [2:51]


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