Spanish Songs

Author: 
Lionel Salter

Spanish Songs

  • (7) Canciones populares españolas
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, La maja dolorosa
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, El majo discreto
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, El tra la la y el punteado
  • (6) Canciones castellanas
  • (5) Canciones negras
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Corazón, por qué pasáis
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, El majo celoso
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Del cabello más sutil
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, La mi sola Laureola
  • (El) Vito
  • Poema en forma de canciones

A growing number of singers are interesting themselves in the none too plentiful Spanish repertoire; but few have so well caught the authentic style and timbre as Della Jones here. Her talent for dramatic intensity is well known from her many previous recordings, but with that she couples a wide range of colour and dynamics and, more importantly, an exceptional appreciation of meaningful verbal inflexion and an unerring feeling for verbal phrasing. I have rarely heard so affecting a performance of Granados's ''Maja dolorosa'' (complete with a fruity low F sharp), but she can also admirably convey coquettishness (in Montsalvatge's ''Punto de habanera'') and sheer lyricism (as in Obradors's ''Del cabello mas sutil''), and her melisma on the ''Ay!'' in the Turina ''Cantares'' is a model of clarity. She is not afraid to use the typical Spanish chest voice, though she overdoes this in Falla's ''Polo'' (too abrupt!) and Montsalvatge's ''Chevere''. It is a particular pleasure that alongside well-worn favourites she includes Guridi's less familiar but charming songs (incidentally, isn't it high time some orchestra recorded his delightful Ten Basque melodies?).
Malcolm Martineau provides colourful and spirited accompaniments (though I don't care for his pace variations in the interludes in the Falla ''Jota''); but unfortunately the very 'live' acoustics of an empty Maltings at Snape seem to have posed problems. The piano is too resonant throughout, and Della Jones needed to be more closely miked: as it is, despite her clear enunciation, many of her words are almost lost, and in soft passages (e.g. in Guridi's ''Como quieres que adivine?'') her voice is barely audible. There is, by the way, a muddle over the first two Obradors songs, which are listed in reverse order and with the wrong durations, though I gather this is being corrected. '

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