Fabulous Victoria de los Angeles (The) - A Lifetime Achievement
This is a remastering of HMV ASD413‚ with three rather longer pieces added to bring it up to CD length. On the sleeve of the original LP David Bicknell (his note is reproduced here together with a new essay) defended the use of the title‚ ‘The Fabulous Victoria de los Angeles’‚ on the grounds that it pretty accurately described her art. It now has a subtitle‚ ‘A Lifetime Achievement’‚ following her richly deserved Gramophone Award; many will also recall the name of a later collection: ‘The Incomparable Victoria de los Angeles’. This is not a complete summary of her achievement‚ of course; for that one would need far more opera‚ more early music and something from her later recordings to demonstrate with what exceptional mastery she managed what often sounded but never proved to be a vulnerable voice over a career spanning nearly 50 years.
If one had to choose one word it would be ‘directness’: she sees the stricken girl and the shadowy figure of Death in Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen‚ without disguising her voice at all‚ and without a hint of excessive operatic acting she summons both of them up and makes us see them. It is the same with the selfpossessed and determined maja in Granados’s Callejeo‚ the lover so ecstatic that his words tumble over each other in Guridi’s Cómo quieres que adivine? and the adorably saucy carnationseller of Valverde’s Clavelitos‚ which signalled to a thousand recital audiences that this was positively the last encore. Or‚ if she had her guitar with her‚ her arrangement of Adiós‚ Granada‚ with that smoky‚ mezzoish timbre which summoned up Spain and all its emotions without the slightest need for the vocal equivalent of a carnation clenched between her teeth. Fabulous? Incomparable? Certainly unforgettable. The (rather narrow stereo) recordings sound very well in this skilful remastering.