Alfredo Kraus - Con el Corazon
Released originally in Spain in 1991, these two CDs are reissued now as a tribute to the treasured tenor who died in 1999. Each CD derives from a separate concert – one in Tenerife, the other in Kraus’s native Las Palmas. Both begin with five popular songs of varying nationalities, sung in their original language and, for me, with varying degrees of success. I can’t say I can readily take Charles Chaplin’s Eternally or Sammy Fain’s Love is a many splendored thing, both pushed to the top of the voice and with overblown orchestral accompaniments. On the other hand, Charles Trenet’s La mer, sung in more tender fashion, fares rather better.
The real glory of the two CDs lies in the seven zarzuela numbers that each contains. Some have been recorded by Kraus on previous occasions, but others (such as the two Guridi numbers and the Chapi rarity) I think have not. Either way, no tenor has ever created for me the frisson that Kraus does in this glorious music. Has anyone, for instance, shaped and caressed the phrases of ‘Mujeres’ from Los claveles as lovingly and sweetly as he does? Has anybody made the romance from El caserio such a tender realisation of affection for a woman who has too often been taken for granted? And, among the many performances of the aria from Dona Francisquita (which Kraus himself recorded several times), has anyone balanced the passion, reflection and finely shaped line as he does?
The second CD ends with a further two songs performed to the accompaniment of an orchestra of mandolins, lutes and guitars. They make a glorious noise, and Kraus sounds thoroughly at home. But the zarzuela numbers are the real glory of this invaluable souvenir of a wonderful singer.'