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
First of all, there are the excellent programming choices. The Danzas
are probably Turina’s most famous work,
as exciting and colourfully scored as overtly Spanish music gets. The
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.
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.
See also review by Nick
(March 2013 Recording of the Month)