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El Ruiseñor Andaluz - Un hommage musical à Federico Garcia Lorca
Benjamin Valette (guitar)
Ensemble Chronochromie (Julie Bouysse, Jenny Daviet, Aude Fenoy, Camille Slosse (soprano); Anne-Elisabeth Petit, Mélodie Ruvio (mezzo); Béatrice Pary (alto); Cédric Lotterie, Branislav Rakic, Deryck Webb (tenor); Cédric Baillergeau, Thomas Roullon, Jean-Louis Serre (bass-baritone))/Jean-Michel Hasler
rec. 2011, Fondation La Borie-en-Limousin (Solignac)
AD VITAM AV120515 [57:53]

The Andalusian poet, Federico García Lorca (the Andalusian Nightingale) was murdered by Falangist militia during the Spanish Civil War. His writings have inspired and been set by various composers. The honour roll includes operas: Denis ApIvor's Yerma (1955) and Wolfgang Fortner's Blood Wedding (1957). Henri Tomasi, whose orchestral music has a presence in the Ad Vitam catalogue, wrote a Guitar Concerto À la mémoire d'un poète assassiné, F.G. Lorca in 1969. Add to the efforts by Crumb, Rautavaara, Revueltas, Poulenc, Lefanu and Weinberg three large-scale Lorca song-cycles by Vicente Pradal, all issued on CD by Virgin Classics.

Ensemble Chronochromie and Ad Vitam intend this disc as a musical tribute to Lorca and it is equal to the implicit challenge. The only slight drift away is the intricately facetted Rodrigo piece which is an impressive and technically demanding tribute to Lorca's teacher, Manuel de Falla. Ferrer's works for unaccompanied choir open and close the disc. They are given touchingly and with considerable ardour. The recording is close and haloed but not stifling. Every gradation of dynamic is meticulously captured as is the choir's robust, swaying and dancing delivery. The final song of Tres Canciones de Amor, Preludio, has the strongest Hispanic atmosphere. The final sequence of three songs, Tres Andaluzas, written like the Tres Canciones, in 1997, brings the disc to a close. These Ferrer pieces are equally fine companions to the main act here which is the Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

The masterly Falla guitar solo is all half-lights, grey scales and subtle shifts. Lorca's own Anda Jaleo, Las morillas de Jaén and Sevillanas de siglo XVIII for guitar (Valette) and mezzo (Ruvio) are heavy with flamenco sparks and kindling. Castelnuovo-Tedesco spent much of his later life in the USA but the seven Lorca songs for choir and guitar, Romancero Gitano (1951), have a strong Spanish accent. They are seductively oblique, raucously precise, smokingly direct, liquid-cool, ornate and toe-tappingly aggressive. It's a superb virtuoso piece and rewarding for choir, guitarist and audiences. I understand that this composer also turned to Cervantes' writings for inspiration so it is no surprise to learn that Spain was in Castelnuovo-Tedesco's family bloodline.
The liner booklet has all the sung words and profiles of the artists and of Lorca. There's also a brief scene-setter by the conductor, Jean-Michel Hasler. It's light on details about the individual pieces so the music is left largely to speak for itself. English monoglots should be aware that although the background notes are in French and English, the texts of the songs are in Spanish and French; no English translation.
French musicians resonantly deliver this unusual Lorca anthology.

Rob Barnett

Manuel Oltra Ferrer
Tres Canciones de Amor
1 Madrigalillo [2:18]
2 Eco [2:04]
3 Preludio [1:47]
Ensemble Chronochromie/Jean-Michel Hasler
Manuel de Falla
4 Homenaje: Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy
Benjamin Valette [3:14]
Federico Garcia Lorca
5 Canciones Españolas Antiguas: Anda, Jaleo [2:08]
Benjamin Valette/Ruvio

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Romancero Gitano Op. 152
6 Baladilla de los Tres Rios [4:41]
7 La Guitarra [3:36]
8 El Puñal [1:44]
9 Procesión - Paso - Saeta [7:34]
10 Memento [2:36]
11 Baile [2:21]
12 Crótalo [1:51]
Benjamin Valette; Ensemble Chronochromie, Jean-Michel Hasler, Jenny Daviet, Béatrice Pary, Deryck Webb, Jean-Louis Serre

13 Canciones Españolas Antiguas: Las Morillas Jaén [3:24]
Benjamin Valette / Ruvio

14 Invocación y Danza: Hommage à Manuel de Falla [9:18]
Benjamin Valette

15 Canciones Españolas Antiguas: Sevillanas [2:18]
Benjamin Valette, Ruvio
Manuel Oltra Ferrer
Tres Andaluzas
16 Canción de Jinete [1:57]
17 Es Verdad [2:07]
18 Arbolé, Arbolé [3:45]
Ensemble Chronochromie



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