(A) Spanish SOngbook
Jill Gomez's imaginative and wide-ranging survey of songs in Spanish, or by German, French and English composers on Spanish themes, opens with what one might call a 'Victoria de los Angeles group' of Renaissance songs. Gomez has something of that plaintive, Moorish-influenced expression that de los Angeles used to bring to this repertory. Miguel de Fuenllana's De los alamos vengo, madre (arranged and popularized in our own time by Rodrigo) and the anonymous
In the second 'Schwarzkopf group', two of Wolf's lighter essays in flirtation from the Spanisches Liederbuch frame Schumann's more obviously pastiche Der Hidalgo and then the deeply passionate
The two Walton songs are both lifted from Facade, one in an arrangement by the composer, the other by Christopher Palmer. I detect a hint of an Edith Sitwell impersonation in one or two phrases. These, and the three songs by Roberto Gerhard, provide the English part of the recital, for Gerhard made these arrangements of songs collected by his teacher, Felipe Pedrell, when he was living in Cambridge in the 1940s. In his informative notes in the booklet (full texts and translations are included), Patrick Carnegy points out that censorship in Spain in the Franco era denied much hearing of Jesus Guridi's music—the one song here is a little treasure—perhaps one day someone will investigate through a concert programme the legacy of Spain's exiles and silenced voices. The disc ends with one of the most famous Spanish encores—Obradors's El Vito. Even if you know all these songs already, but especially if this repertory is unfamiliar, this sunny CD will bring nothing but delight.'