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Clara Sandler - Alma Apasionada - Songs from Spain and Argentina
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Early Songs
1. Tus ojillos negros [4:39]
2. Oraxión de las madres que tienen a sus hijos en brazos [2:18]
3. El pan de Ronda [1:15]
4. Olas gigantes [3:31]
Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Cuatro canciones sefaradies
5. Respóndemos [3:02]
6. Una pastora yo amí [1:46]
7. Nani, nani [2:53]
8. Morena me llaman [1:12]
Carlos López BUCHARDO (1882-1962)
Cinco canciones argentina
9. Prendiditos de la mano [2:19]
10. Si lo hallas [1:51]
11. Frescas sombras de sauce [2:54]
12. Oye mi llanto [3:17]
13. ¡Malhaya la suerte mía! [2:47]
Rodolfo HALFFTER (1900-1987)
Marinero en tierra
14. Qué altos los balcones [1:48]
15. Casadita [2:01]
16. Siempre que sueño las playas [1:48]
17. Verano [0:54]
18. Gimiendo por ver el mar [2:01]
Clara Sandler (soprano), William Merrill (piano)
rec. New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 14. 21 June and 13 September 2004
Sung texts and English translations enclosed


Experience Classicsonline

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 tonal language.

Rodrigo’s possibly 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. 

Less 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! 

Rodolfo Halffter 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.

Göran Forsling 


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