Canciones españolas
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
La maja y el ruiseñor from Goyescas [6:32]
Canciones amatorias [18:18]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Siete canciones populares españolas [13:15]
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Tres arias, Op. 26 [13:21]
Danielle Talamantes (soprano), Henry Dehlinger (piano)
rec. 2013, Vienna Presbyterian Church, Vienna, Virginia
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
MSR CLASSICS MS1476 [51:18]
“Soprano” says the cover of this CD and Danielle Talamantes certainly sings soprano roles but her vocal timbre, as heard in this programme, is rather a dark mezzo. Many of the great interpreters of this repertoire have also been mezzos, Conchita Supervia and Teresa Berganza to name but two. She opens with The Maiden and the Nightingale from the opera Goyescas, originally a suite for piano inspired by the paintings of Goya, but later reworked to an opera. You notice at once the delicious piano playing and the deeply involved singing, slow with heavy rubato, almost improvisatory. The fairly short opera has never been established in the standard repertoire but is occasionally performed. It was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera on 28 January 1916 in a double bill alongside Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, with Giovanni Martinelli and Giuseppe De Luca in the cast. The premiere was so successful that the composer was invited by President Woodrow Wilson to give a piano recital at the White House, which indirectly caused Granados’s death. He had to postpone his voyage home to Europe and the ship he and his wife later chose was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel on 26 March.

Canciones amatorias (Love Songs) from 1915 are mostly settings of anonymous poems but there are also some known poets from the early 17th century, one of them being Lope de Vega (tr. 8). Mira que soy niña (Look, I’m just a little girl) is sung with fine dynamic shading, Mañanica era (It was daybreak) is slow and atmospheric with hypnotic accompaniment. Serranas de Cuenca (Mountain girls of Cuenca) is lively and dancing. Gracia mia (My graceful one) has very clear Spanish flavour. Lloraba la niña (The girl wept) is sad and the listener doesn’t miss that, even without knowing the text “The girl wept, and with reason”. The Lope de Vega setting also deals with weeping – a very intense song.

Manuel de Falla’s Seven Spanish Folk Songs is well-known territory and I have to admit that Danielle Talamantes’ readings are competitive, even against the really great names. Her beautiful inward Asturiana is something to return to, as is the wild Jota and the caressing Nana.

Joaquín Turina’s Tres arias were composed in 1923. The first is a long “frontier ballad”, where the central character is a Moor, who has just defeated the Christians at Toledo. The second is a fisherman singing to his beloved, while Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer’s Rima is a poem where the poet is caught by the eyes of some unknown creature. I feel myself led by your eyes / But where they lead me, I do not know. The latter is a strong piece impressively sung. It actually haunted me for quite some time after my listening session. Talamantes certainly has that hard-to-define capacity to communicate with the listener. The support Henry Dehlinger provides at the piano further enhances this in no unimportant way. A disc to savour.

Göran Forsling

Track listing

1. La maja y el ruiseñor from Goyescas [6:32]
2. Mira que soy niña [2:54]
3. Mañanica era [3:07]
4. Serranas de Cuenca [1:57]
5. Gracia mía [2:31]
6. Descúbrase el pensamiento [3:46]
7. Lloraba la niña [2:31]
8. No lloréis, ojuelos [1:29]
9. El paño moruno [1:15]
10. Seguidilla murciana [1:22]
11. Asturiana [2:31]
12. Jota [3:11]
13. Nana [1:42]
14. Canción [1:22]
15. Polo [1:39]
16. Romance [6:29]
17. El Pescador [4:48]
18. Rima [2:03]

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