FALLA El Amor brujo. Fanfare pour une fête. El sombrero de tres picos
‘It must be very simple in expression, as if Mozart were playing in Spain’, Enrique Mazzola tells his players during rehearsals for the Corregidor’s music in El sombrero de tres picos. It comes as a surprise to discover that his new disc adds five minutes of rehearsal material, all of it remarkably entertaining, to its final track, since neither slip-case nor booklet-notes mention it. Omitting it, however, would have left space for Sombrero in its entirety rather than the Suites. Whatever the disc’s merits, there is a sense of a missed opportunity.
Mazzola insists his approach is personal: his mother, a dancer, regularly performed El Amor brujo in Barcelona when he was young, he tells us; Falla’s ballets were the sounds of his childhood, though now he finds in them ‘so much Stravinsky, so much Ravel’. The influences loom large in his treatment of the slashing rhythms of El Amor brujo’s ‘Canción del amor dolido’ and the sensual undulations of its ‘Pantomima’. Sombrero is gracious, suave, a bit low-key. One appreciates his comment about Mozart: the philandering Corregidor sounds strikingly sincere here rather than caricatured.
Occasionally, he pushes hard. The ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ seems hectic when placed beside Dutoit’s measured, sinister account with his Montreal Symphony. Mazzola’s orchestra is clean, bright, very virtuoso. But in Sombrero some will prefer the greater weight of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos’s Philharmonia for EMI. Mazzola’s vocalist is Esperanza Fernández, a flamenco singer rather than the more usual mezzo, persuasively earthy, though ‘Canción del fuego fátuo’ lies high. The brief Fanfare pour une fête, meanwhile, is tacked on to El Amor brujo as an additional prelude. It’s all hugely enjoyable, but Dutoit’s comparable coupling, with Sombrero complete, is still to be preferred.