Roberto GERHARD (1896-1970)
Tonades dels segles XVII i XVIII
Palomino: Seguidillas
Valderrabano: De dónde venis, amore?
Salinas: Cantilena vulgar Canción muy popularizada; Cantarcillo Romancillo
Berxés: Ay qué mal
Literes: Bosque frondoso
Correa, M: Bailete
Duron: Yo te quiero, Gileta
Grimau: Tirana del Zarandilla
Marín: Pasacalle
Laserna: El cordero perdido; Los serranos inocentes
Navas: Buscaba el amor
Ferrer , G: El remedio del gato
Galván: Un oficial de Guerra
Nancy Fabiola Herrera (mezzo)
Mac McClure (piano)
rec. Estudis Albert Moraleda, Llerona, Feb-Nov 2009. DDD
COLUMNA MUSICA 1CM0249 [40:08]
Moderately well informed UK classical listeners will know of Roberto Gerhard as a Spanish-born Schoenberg adherent. He settled in Cambridge and made a strong impact late in life with his four thorn-embroidered symphonies, his Camus-based The Plague and the Violin Concerto. He was recorded on LP by Decca and Philips with Gulbenkian and British Council funding and has since enjoyed CD revivals from Naïve, Chandos and Lyrita. It is a little known aspect of his legacy that he adapted and made arrangements of ancient Iberian music. Gerhard was born in Tarragona province but studied extensively abroad in Munich, Paris, Vienna and Berlin. His longest stay was in the UK where he was a respected and loved figure. His dodecaphonic music made a great impact on the international stage - a high-tide mark for him. Felipe Pedrell (1841-1922) was one of his teachers as were Granados and Frank Marshall. Pedrell did much musical archaeology and produced four volumes entitled Cancionero musical popular espagnol (1918-22). From these books the present songs have been selected. His avant-garde apparatus is not engaged here; the consummate professional, he emulates a manner that is consistent with the originals.

These 17 songs are taken on by the the light-toned mezzo of Nancy Fabiola Herrera. The piano is played by Mac McClure, a Columna Musica stalwart I have already heard in CM discs of the music of Joan Comellas. Palomino’s Hispano-Mozartean Seguidillas is full of dignified feeling - a true concert aria and quite striking. I wonder if it was ever orchestrated. Valderrabano’s De dónde venis, amore? blends purity with Mozartean emotion. Literes’s Bosque frondoso is very passionate. Duron’s Yo te quiero links with the great songs of Rodrigo De Los Alamos Vengo - Rodrigo, it will be recalled - was himself a devotee of the older music of Iberian peninsula. Grimau is all witty and Hispanic-stiff necked dignity in Tirana del Zarandilla. Many of these pieces bask in Mozartean curlicues and twists. Hear it in the wit and beauty of Los Serranos Inocentes. Buscaba el amor by Navas is the only song in which Herrera seems at all uncomfortable.

The fine notes are by Frances Barulich. The texts are there in but in Spanish only, superbly reproduced and in simple legible black and white. All the songs appear here in world premiere recordings.
Rob Barnett 
Blending purity with Mozartean emotion.