Having heard a lot of Spanish vocal music of late I jumped at
the opportunity to hear something further, always being curious
about musical byways. Of the four composers represented here de
Falla and Rodrigo are known quantities, in particular de Falla
through his 7 canciones popolares españolas, composed 1914-1915.
The early songs presented here were written between 1899 and 1915.
They are inspired and beautiful if rather conventional compared
to the later cycle, where de Falla has developed a more personal
best – at least best known – songs are Cuatro
Madrigales Amatorios (1948) but these much later group, to anonymous texts adapted by his
wife, are certainly charming and elegant. They were composed
in 1965 and clearly show that his creative force was still undiminshed.
The lullaby Nani, nani is particularly lovely.
known is probably Carlos López Buchardo, who however is regarded
as the father of Argentina’s nationalistic movement and he was
also the man who built up the musical institutions that were
the foundation for the development of Argentina’s musical life
during the first half of the 20th century. The five
folk songs are light and evocative with syncopated rhythms givint
them a personal imprint. I was especially enticed by the last
of them, ¡Malhaya la suerte mía!
was born in Madrid and was quite an influential person in Spanish
music life during the first third of the last century, together
with his five years younger brother Ernesto. He was influenced
by Manuel de Falla and traces of this can be found in the short
song cycle concluding this interesting disc. Halffter moved
to Mexico City in 1939, after the Spanish Civil War, and remained
there until his death. The songs were composed in 1925 and are
permeated by a genuine Spanish atmosphere. They are truly attractive
and I do regret that I have never heard them before.
The singer, Clara
Sandler, was born in Argentina but is now active in the Boston
area, where she is on the Voice faculty of the New England Conservatory
of Music, where this disc also was recorded. She has fine feeling
for the songs she has chosen, her readings are well considered
but alas the singing in itself only intermittently gives satisfaction.
The voice is squally, edgy and rather wobbly and these are qualities
that become more of a hindrance than a help to appreciate the
music. There is nothing wrong with the recording and the pianist
William Merrill has a fine sense for the so essential rhythms.
The sung texts are
printed in the booklet and Clara Sandler has made the English
translations. The songs are pleasing and I only wish the execution
had been on the same level.