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Spanish Romances
Pilar Lorengar (soprano)
Siegfried Behrend (guitar CD 1), Alicia de Larrocha (piano CD 2), Richard Klemm (Viola da gamba CD 1 tr. 10)
rec. Ufa-Studio, Berlin, 13 & 14 January 1966 (CD 1); Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London, 7-10 July 1977 (CD 2)
No texts enclosed
ELOQUENCE 482 5944 [44:39 + 40:34]

Spanish soprano Pilar Lorengar (January 16, 1928 – June 2, 1996) born Lorenza Pilar García Seta, was one of the great names during the 1960s and 70s, but it seems that her name is not very well-known today, and that’s a great pity. After her training in Spain she worked for some years with a zarzuela company, before she started her international career in 1955 at the Festival international d'Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence, where she played Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. From 1959 she was a permanent member of the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and remained there for thirty years. But she also appeared at most of the world’s great opera houses, including the MET, La Scala and the Vienna State Opera. She also had a recording career, primarily for Decca.

The two LPs that constitute this twofer were issued eleven years apart, in 1966 and 1977 respectively, but it is difficult to hear much difference in her actual sounds. Her voice was remarkably intact through the years, which is further confirmed when listening to the companion issue “The Voice of Pilar Lorengar”, to be reviewed before long. On disc one she sings Old Spanish Romances and Folk Songs, accompanied by the reliable and multi-faceted German guitarist Siegfried Behrend. The old romances are mostly from the 16th century and they are short. The shortest – and probably best-known – is Juan Vasquez’s De los álamos vengo. It is a little melodious gem, 45 seconds long and immediately catching. Recorded when Pilar Lorengar was in her late 30s and her voice was at her vocal zenith, it is a pleasure to savour her interpretations. Her voice had a personal timbre, a slight quick vibrato that added considerable warmth to her readings. The songs are gentle and soft and intimate. They seem made for a small cosy room with a fireplace, a handful listeners, a singer and a guitarist.

The Spanish cantata by Handel is quite different, but the Spanish flavour is there. It is a young Handel we meet here; he was 22 when it was composed. Here a viola da gamba is added even though it seems it was composed for voice and guitar only. The nine Spanish folksongs, which probably date from the 19th century, are suitably sung with more vibrancy, often flexible tempos and rubatos. Los reyes de la baraja is my personal favourite but there is a lot to admire here.

The second disc is entirely devoted to the music of Enrique Granados. Though recorded almost a dozen years later than the first disc the voice is still in mint condition but it has gained in strength. The Tonadillas have been sung by all the great Spanish singers from Conchita Supervia and onwards: Victoria de los Angeles, Montserrat Caballé, Teresa Berganza – and Pilar Lorengar is firmly in the same mould. She has a subtle lightness of approach in for instance El tra-la-lá y el punteado (tr. 3), but she also handles the darker strands of the songs, in particular la maja dolorosa 1 – 3. Alicia de Larrocha, the greatest Spanish pianist of her time, is of course cut out for this repertoire and her playing is often imitative of the guitar. Listen to El mirar de la maja (tr. 7) where the accompaniment contrasts with the exquisite legato singing of Ms Lorengar.

The collection of Canciónes amatorias has not derived quite the popularity it deserves. Hearing the songs in Pilar Lorengar’s superb readings one realises their quality. Mañanica era (tr. 15) is a marvellous song but the whole collection is deeply satisfying and is rounded off by the suggestive Gracia mia with virtuoso piano accompaniment. This is a great recital and it should serve as a timely reminder that Pilar Lorengar deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those great singers mentioned above.

Göran Forsling

CD 1 [44:39]
Old Spanish Romances and Folk Songs
(Arranged by Siegfried Behrend)
Don Luis MILÁN (c. 1500 – after 1562)
1. Romanze ‘Durandarte’ [4:30]
2. Tres morillas m’enamoran (c. 1500) [1:29]
Jacobus de MILARTE
3. A la sombra de mis cabellos (c. 1500) [1:26]
Esteban DAZA (mid-16th century)
4. Enfermo estaba Antioca (c. 1576) [1:24]
Diego PISADOR (c. 1500 – after 1550)
5. Guarte el Rey Don Sancho (c. 1552) [1:01]
Fray Juan BERMUDA (c. 1510 – 1580)
6. Mira Nero (1548) [0:57]
Juan VASQUEZ (before 1520 – 1580)
7. De los álamos vengo (1554) [0:45]
Alonso de MUDARRA (1510 – 1580)
8. Old Spanish Song ‘Isabel, perdiste la tu faxa’ (c. 1546) [1:06]
Luys de NARVÁEZ (after 1500 – after 1555)
9. Old Spanish Song ‘Con qué la lavare’ (1538) [3:29]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759)
10. Spanish Cantata ‘No se emenderá jamás’ [6:31]
Nine Spanish Folk Songs:
11. Zorongo [2:34]
12. Las tre hojas [1:45]
13. El café de chinitas [3:19]
14. Anda, jaleo [1:57]
15. Los quatro muleros [1:37]
16. Los reyes de la baraja [1:15]
17. Romance de Don Boiso [4:13]
18. Los pepegrinitos [3:22]
19. La tarara [1:23]

CD 2 [40:34]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867 – 1916)
Tonadillas en estilo antiguo:
1. La maja de Goyo [3:41]
2. Amor y odio [2:16]
3. Elá y el punteado [1:11]
4. El majo olvidado [2:54]
5. El majo timido [0:52]
6. Callejeo [1:25]
7. El mirar de la maja [2:46]
8. Las currutacas modestas [1:22]
9. El majo discreto [1:37]
10. La maja dolorosa 1: ¡Oh, muerte cruel! [2:21]
11. La maja dolorosa 2: ¡Ay majo de mi vida! [2:09]
12. La maja dolorosa 3: De aquel majo amante [2:58]
Colección de canciónes amatorias:
13. Mira que soy niña [2:53]
14. Iban al pinar [1:55]
15. Mañanica era [2:27]
16. No lloreis, ojuelos [1:16]
17. Llorad, corazón [2:15]
18. Gracia mia [2:57]



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