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Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Danzas fantásticas, Op. 22 [15:53]
Poema en forma de canciones, Op. 19 [11:04]
Saeta en forma de Salve a la Virgén de la Esperanza, Op. 60 [3:39]
Farruca from Triptico, Op. 45 [3:08]
Ritmos, Op. 43 [15:12]
Sinfonía sevillana, Op. 23 [22:28]
Clara Mouriz (mezzo) (Poema, Saeta, Farruca)
BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena
rec. 9 December 2011 (Danzas), 27 January 2012 (Sinfonía), 21 June 2012 (rest), MediaCity UK, Salford, England
CHANDOS CHAN 10753 [71:25]

The last few years have seen a welcome focus on Joaquín Turina, from his chamber works to the Naxos series of his complete piano music. That said, there’s a need for a one-CD summary, or an album that says, “if you can only have Turina album …” This is that CD.
 
First of all, there are the excellent programming choices. The Danzas fantásticas are probably Turina’s most famous work, as exciting and colourfully scored as overtly Spanish music gets. The Sinfonía sevillana is substantial, totally attractive, evocative, and fairly concise. It knows how to win you over, but also not to overstay its welcome. Why it’s not a repertoire staple is beyond me. Then fill out the rest of the disc with the exciting Ritmos and a series of gorgeous songs for mezzo-soprano. There can hardly be a better Intro to Turina.
 
Although I can imagine more uninhibited playing in the first and last of the Danzas, this reservation fades from the memory with the arrival of excellent mezzo Clara Mouriz to sing her numbers with taste and lovely voice. As for the Sinfonia performance it is one of the best around; it doesn’t hurt that a similarly-programmed Naxos disc is less vibrantly recorded. The BBC Philharmonic certainly don’t sound too distant here, nor do they sound disengaged, and it’s only in those Danzas that they sound un-Spanish.
 
On the other hand, the Danzas are the work you’re most likely to hear elsewhere; there are recordings by Ansermet and Bátiz, among others. The Sinfonia is on an old RCA album and in the aforementioned Naxos CD, but neither is better-played or better-recorded. The Poema for mezzo has been more popular, especially in a piano version - which Joyce DiDonato and Teresa Berganza recorded - but if you want the orchestra, Clara Mouriz is a big part of the reason why this CD’s so appealing. If you and your stereo need a Turina highlight reel, this is it.
 
Brian Reinhart 


See also review by Nick Barnard (March 2013 Recording of the Month)

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