Sensitively performed and beautifully-recorded
Canto a Sevilla, Op 37. Poema en forma de canciones, Op 19. Farruca, Op 45 No 1. Saeta en forma de Salve a la Virgen de la Esperanza, Op 60
Lucia Duchonová mez NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra /
Hänssler Classic (F) CD98 608 (55’ • DDD)
A truly international approach to Turina, this, with Slovakian mezzo Lucia Duchonová and the NDR Radiophilharmonie under Brazilian conductor Celso Antunes. Turina (1882-1949) was a composer who rejoiced in the possibilities of combining richly coloured orchestral writing, inevitably influenced by Debussy, with overt Spanishery. In this he was much less austere than Falla, with whom he nevertheless had much in common; indeed, Falla and Albéniz were friends, and the latter was particularly influential in turning the younger composer’s thoughts towards the culture of his native country.
Lest anyone think that such nationally coloured music might be rather far from the range of such an international team, it is worth recalling that the premiere of Poema en forma de canciones was given in 1919 by Polish singer Aga Lahowska. Hänssler’s team is more than up to the task, and though Duchonová can sometimes sound a little harsh lower down, she has the most sublime high register. Similarly, I occasionally find the NDR orchestra a trifle heavy-handed (for example, the repeated chords in “Cantares” from Poema), but in general the performances are very sensitive and beautifully recorded. Finest of all is the performance of Saeta en forma de Salve, a too-little known jewel, which finds all the performers on top form. Ivan Moody