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Columna Musica


Victoria de Los Angeles canta Nin
Joaquín NIN CASTELLANOS (1878-1949)
1. El cant dels ocells [3:55]
Joaquín NIN-CULMELL (1908-2004)
2. El Noi de la Mare [1:37]
3. El mariner [1:47]
4. La filadora [0:46]
5. La pastoreta [0:45]
6. Cantó de Nadal [1:40]
7. La noia de l’Empordà [1:10]
8. L’hereu Riera [0:59]
9. Caterina d’Alió [1:24]
10. El bon cantador [0:45]
11. La mort de la núvia [1:44]
12. El mestre [1:26]
13. La ploma de perdiu [2:25]
14. Anda jaleo [0:51]
15. Los cuatro muleros [1:08]
16. Debajo de la hoja [0:45]
17. Seguidillas sevillanas [1:24]
18. La mare de Déu [2:03]
19. El ram de la Passió! [0:49]
20. La dama d’Aragó [1:57]
21. El testament d’Amélia [4:34]
22. La Paula i en Jordi [1:50]
23. L’hostal de la Peira [1:54]
24. Muntanyes regalades [3:26]
25. Cantó del lladre [2:23]
26. El pardal quan s’ajocava [1:42]
27. La filla del marxant [1:21]
28. Mariagneta [2:06]
29. Els fadrins de Sant Boi [1:29]
30. Cantó de Nadal [3:37]
31. Montañesa [2:26]
32. Malagueña [2:34]
33. El amor es como un niño [1:49]
34. El paño murciano [1:53]
35. El vito [1:56]
36. Granadina [1:56]
Victoria de los Angeles (soprano)(1, 27, 30 – 36)
Anna Brull (soprano)(2, 11, 29), Marta Garcia Cadena (soprano)(3, 24, 25), Laia Frigolé (soprano)(4, 8, 23), Christina Koch (soprano)(5, 13, 19), Eulália Fantova (soprano)(6, 9, 18, 22), Sheila Grados (soprano)(12, 20, 269, Begoña Navarro (mezzo)(21), Jorge Abarza (tenor)(14-17), Josep Ramon Olivé (baritone)(10, 28); Paul Berl (piano)(1, 32), Alan Bransch (piano)(2-26, 28, 29), Miguel Zanetti (piano)(27), Alfredo Ross (piano)(30), Gerald Moore (piano)(31, 34-36), Magde Wilmotte (piano)(33)
rec. 1950-1973 (Victoria de los Angeles); December 2008 at l’Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya
Lyrics enclosed


Experience Classicsonline

Let us first sort out that the title of the disc is ‘Victoria de Los Angeles Sings Nin’ and that it number 6 of Columna Musicá’s Victoria de Los Angeles Collection. And by all means, Victoria de los Angeles sings, but only nine out of thirty-six songs; the remaining twenty-seven are allotted to nine young Spanish singers who share the songs more or less evenly between them. And there is nothing wrong with that; I only want to make clear that it is far from an all-Los Angeles disc.

But let’s start with the composers and the music. Father and son Nin were important figures in Catalan music and the direct reason for this issue is the celebration of Joaquín Nin-Culmell’s 100th anniversary last year (2008). He didn’t live long enough to be able to take part in the celebrations but he wasn’t wide of the mark: he died in 2004. Among his best known works are the two volumes of Dotze cancions catalanes, composed in the 1950s and they are here performed complete, together with Cuatro canciones andaluzas, which were dedicated to Victoria de los Angeles. The melodic material is traditional but he colours it harmonically in a very personal way, not unlike Frederic Mompou, who also employed some of the same material. El Noi de la Mare (tr. 2) the first song in the first volume, is one of those – a melody that Victoria de Los Angeles also sang in a setting by Manuel Garcia Morante, who often accompanied her in recital. Nin’s harmonic language can sometimes be rather harsh but it has a sense of honesty and shows a will to create something new, something different.

It should be observed that the twelve songs of the second volume of the Catalan songs all have dedications, some still rather familiar names. We find for instance composers Eduard Toldrà, Frederic Mompou, Joaquin Rodrigo and Xavier Montsalvatge and the singers Conxita Badia, Consuelo Rubio (a fine Carmen in the 1950s and 60s) and Victoria de los Angeles. She sings only one of the songs in a rather primitive live recording from 1973, while the song Mariagneta, dedicated to her, is performed by the promising baritone Josep Ramon Olivé. It is a fine song and it surprises me that Ms de los Angeles didn’t sing it in recitals. She sang, according to notes in the booklet, the complete volume 1 on several occasions and isolated songs from the same volume on other occasions but the only song from volume 2 that she sang in public seems to be La filla del marxant. She also sang songs by Nin senior and eight of them are included here for good measure, the earliest recording made in 1950. They are valuable documents and three of the songs on the disc, among them La filla del marxant, are marked world premiere recordings.

Among the young singers on this disc several have fine voices and sure technique and will hopefully be able to establish themselves as professional singers. Marta Garcia Cadena, Eulalia Fantova and Sheila Grados seem to be the most advanced so far and sport beautiful tone and elegant phrasing. They are ably supported by pianist Alan Branch, though I wonder whether he could have been able to find more nuances in the music. It seems a bit four-square. Anyway it is good to have these songs available complete and the best way of enjoying them is undoubtedly to pick three or four at a time. The recorded sound for the new items is good without being exceptional and there was something sounding like distortion in El mariner, which affected Marta Garcia Cadena’s voice.

Texts are enclosed but only in the original language. Victoria de Los Angeles’s many admirers will no doubt want the disc but others should try it as well for some finely shaped songs.

Göran Forsling 



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