Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Serenata Op.87 (1933-35) [8:52]
Las Musas de Andalucía Op.93 No.3 – Talía (Naranjos y Olivos) (1942) arr. Gerard Claret [2:04]
La Oracíon del Terero Op.34 (1925) [8:10]
Joan MANÉN (1883-1971)
Miniatures [24:22]
Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Cançoneta (1923) [2:35]
Ricard Lamote de GRIGNON (1899-1962)
Monocromies (c.1956) [10:49]
Orquestra Nacional de Cambra d’Andorra/Gerard Claret (concertino-director and solo violin)
rec. November 1997, Auditori Nacional d’Andorra
NIMBUS NI 5570 [56:52]
 
As with the Toldra-Casals-Montsalvatge disc from these forces that I recently reviewed (review review), this isn’t new. It was recorded at the end of 1997 and released by Nimbus the following year. Still, it shouldn’t be overlooked in the welter of releases and re-releases that continue to saturate the market.
 
This time we go one better; there are four composers represented. Turina’s Serenata was originally written for string quartet between 1933 and 1935, and the string orchestra version followed in 1943. It’s a light, enjoyable work that passes through incidents adeptly, and with plenty of powerful dynamics. Talía from Las Musas de Andalucía was written in 1942 for quartet once again, but Gerard Claret, taking his cue from the composer, has arranged it for orchestra. It’s a lissom little morsel, two minutes in length, strongly redolent of pizzicato-imitating Iberian guitar. Naturally the opportunity to present La Oracion del Torero couldn’t and shouldn’t have been spurned. It’s inevitably a work that draws the best from players, either in quartet or chamber orchestra versions. The proud, extrovert writing comes across well here.
 
Joan Manén was the leading Spanish violinist of his day, one who toured internationally, and made the first ever recording of the Beethoven violin concerto. It’s still not been reissued. But he was also a composer, of operas as well as miniatures, though it’s the latter we hear in this disc. There are seven altogether. They range from a gentle, baroque-tinged Pensando en los Clasicos to the light, lissom dance of the second miniature. There’s a frolicsome gentility to his Wateau (oddly spelt with one‘t’), a rococo charm and naughtiness, that suggests an awareness of the painter’s work beyond the merely gestural — if indeed it is the painter he’s invoking. The Romanza is very warmly done, and strangely suggests an awareness of Mahler. To end things we have a sinewy fugue.
 
Rodrigo’s brief Cançoneta is a very early piece but touchingly reminds us that he was still alive at the time of recording. It may seem redundant now to include this two and a half minute piece, but its inclusion at the time was a fine gesture.
 
Monocromies, composed by Ricard Lamote de Grignon around 1956, and heard in this world premiere recording, is a rather neo-classical piece, with clear, clean textures, a wistful and rather lovely slow movement, and an Iberian dance finale with tautly rhythmic writing. It’s a fresh and appealing, approachable piece, deserving of this fine performance.
 
It ends a well worked programme. Maybe we should have expected more, because at 56 minutes there was certainly room for it. More Manén, maybe. Some other time?
 
Jonathan Woolf
 
A well worked programme; not to be overlooked in the welter of releases and re-releases that continue to saturate the market.