Sebastián DURÓN (1660-1716)
Salir el Amor del Mundo [36:00]
José NEBRA (1702-1768)
Juan HIDALGO (1614-1685)
Luceros y flores [3:51]; Xacara de Clarín [3:23]; Ay que sí [2:19]; José Marin (1619-1699)
Ojos pues me dedeñes [4:37]; Aquella sierra nevada [3:56]
Santiago de MURCIA (1685-c.1732) / Anonymous/ Martin SOLER (1729-1783)
Fandango [6:37]
El Mundo/Richard Savino: Jennifer Ellis Kampani, Nell Snaidas, Ann Moss, Phoebe Jevtovich, Erica Schuller (soprano), Karen Clark (mezzo), Paul Shipper (bass, baroque guitar, percussion), Kathryn Adducci (trumpet), Adam La Motte, Lisa Grodin, Aaron Westman (violin), Richard Savino, David Zuluaga (baroque guitar, theorbo), John Schneiderman (baroque guitar, archlute), Avi Stein (harpsichord), John Dornenburg (viola da gamba), William Skeen (viola da gamba, cello), Kent Reed (percussion)
rec. 19-21 August 2009, Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California
Sung texts in Spanish and English
DORIAN DSL 92107 [62:27]

Durón was first employed by the Spanish court in 1691 as organist of the royal chapel; by 1702 he had become maestro de capilla and also Director of the Royal Choir School. Alongside this work he wrote prolifically for theatrical performances in Madrid, and the delightful zarzuela recorded here seems to be one of the first of such theatrical works. However he backed the wrong side (the Austrians) in the war of the Spanish Succession and the Bourbon King had no desire to continue paying his salary, so that his court posts were terminated in 1706. In 1707 he was exiled from Madrid … and went to France.

In recording Salir el Amor del Mundo (Love Leaves the World) Richard Savino has adopted an un-pedantic and healthily interventionist approach. He has omitted the spoken texts and some of the merely functional sung texts or incidental pieces. As he explains in his notes he has chosen, rather, to “‘stitch together’ certain scenes into cohesive musical numbers and then augment this recording with additional works”. In the event of a theatrical revival of Salir el Amor del Mundo some different judgements would surely be made - I remain a little uneasy about the omission of the work’s loa or introduction, with its paying of respects to the royal family. Savino’s approach generally works admirably here, and the listener benefits from both the synopsis - which unfortunately isn’t consistently keyed into track numbers correctly - and libretto and translation provided. The original libretto was the work of the prolific José de Cañizares (1676 – 1750), theatrical censor and cavalry officer, who was very much in sympathy with Durón’s strategy of incorporating motifs from Italian opera into zarzuela.

Cupid has impudently intruded into the forest of Diana, goddess of hunting and emblem of chastity. Offended, and concerned about the safety of her nymphs, she seeks to punish Cupid and calls on the assistance of Apollo, Mars and Jupiter. After some difficulties, Cupid is captured and banished to a cave:

En el cóncavo profundo
da un risco colore el rigore
ya que vino al mundo Amor,
que salga el Amor del mundo

(Which John Deredita translates thus: ‘In the deep hollow of a cliff / Let severity be shown. / Since Cupid came into the world, / Let Cupid leave the world’).

Savino records the work with a largish ensemble, which plays with vivacity and supports the singers well throughout. Jennifer Ellis Kampani is particularly effective as Cupid, shaping Durón’s melodic lines elegantly while imbuing them with a well-characterised cheekiness! Karen Clark (as both Diana and Morpheus) is expressive and assured, and manages to project a firmly moral demeanour without sounding merely prim. Indeed all the singers – along with the instrumentalists – impress favourably. They put a persuasive case for Salir el Amor del Mundo, so much so that they make one want to hear, or better still, see, a performance of the whole thing.

There is a good deal of pleasure to be had, too, from the additional works on the CD. José Marin’s ‘Ojos pues me dedeñais’ a solemn courtly-love lament is sung by Nell Snaidas (the Jupiter of Salir el Amor del Mundo) with a fittingly grave sophistication; Marin’s ‘Aquella sierra nevada’, full of conflicted emotions, gets a fiery performance from Jennifer Ellis Kampani; Juan Hidalgo’s ‘Aquella sierra nevada’ is expressively interpreted by Erica Schuller (Mars in the disc’s major work), full of unforced melancholic dignity.

The whole disc makes a valuable – and enjoyable – contribution to the growing recorded repertoire of seventeenth-century Spanish music.

Glyn Pursglove

A delightful early zarzuela, sung and played with attractive vivacity.