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Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Danzas fantásticas Op. 22 (1919) [15:45]
Poema en forma de canciones Op. 19* (1917) [10:58]
Saeta en forma de salve a la Virgen de la Esperanza Op. 60* (1931) [3:34]
Farruca from Triptico Op. 45* (1928) [3:01]
Ritmos Op. 43 (1927/28) [15:04]
Sinfonía sevillana Op. 23 (1920) [22:26]
Clara Mouriz* (mezzo)
BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena
rec. MediaCity UK, Salford, England, 9 December 2011 (Danzas); 27 January 2012 (Sinfonia); 21 June 2012 (all other works)
CHANDOS CHAN 10753 [71:27]

This disc might seem predictable for the BBC Philharmonic with Juanjo Mena their chief conductor who comes from the Basque region of Spain. Their Spanish music series has been nothing short of outstanding. Maestro Mena marked his debut recording with the BBC Philharmonic with masterworks works from Cádiz-born Manuel de Falla and this was quickly followed by a fascinating disc of music by the lesser-known Catalan Xavier Montsalvatge.

Mena here turns to the Joaquín Turina who was from Andalusia. Although he belonged to a school of Spanish nationalistic composers his music also displays discernable Gallic influences. After all, he spent almost a decade living in Paris. Turina’s best known works here are both in three movements. Firstly we hear the Danzas fantásticas, originally for solo piano with its traditional Andalusian dance and flamenco rhythms. Secondly there’s the exciting Sinfonía sevillana, notable for its especially attractive orchestration.

Three of the works include a part for soprano voice. This is sung by Spanish mezzo Clara Mouriz. Earlier this year at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester I heard her sing so beautifully the five section Poema en forma de canciones Op. 19. That was with the same forces. The other two sung works are in single movements: the Saeta en forma de salve a la Virgen de la Esperanza Op. 60 (1931) and the Farruca from Triptico Op. 45 (1928). I especially enjoyed the Saeta, a devotional Andante sung to a sacred text and played in a passionate and almost secular manner. The ‘discovery’ for me was Ritmos (Rhythms), Op.43 a ‘choreographic fantasy’ for orchestra from 1927/28. It was originally intended for a ballet but was never staged. Commencing with a dark Prelude heavy with foreboding, I loved the contrasting episodes moving between fervent energy and genial calm.
With the exception of the moderately paced Saeta the remaining works generally inhabit a similar sound-world. Turina’s highly rhythmic and vivid coloration combined with his passionate approach invariably produce steamy evocations of baking Spanish sunshine. With infectious enjoyment Mena and the BBC Phil ideally capture the expressive mood of these joyous scores. Produced at MediaCity UK, in Salford this open and clear recording ticks all the right boxes.
Michael Cookson