Magazine article Gramophone

Sketches of Spain from Soubrette Soprano Schwartz

Magazine article Gramophone

Sketches of Spain from Soubrette Soprano Schwartz

Article excerpt

'Canciones espanolas'

Granados Goyescas--La maja y el ruisenor. Tonadillas en estilo antiguo--El majo discreto; El majo timido; Amor y odio; La maja de Goya; Callejeo; El tra-la-la y el punteado; !Oh, muerte cruel!; !Ay majode mi vida!; Deaquel majoamante Guridi Seis Canciones castellanas Montsalvatge Cinco Canciones negras Toldra Abril. Maig Turina Tres Poemas, Op 81 Sylvia Schwartz sop Malcolm Martineau pf Hyperion (F) CDA67954 (68' * DDD * T/t)

What lies beyond the usual Falla songs that represent Spanish repertoire in vocal recitals? The initial answer in this disc might be, 'not a lot . Following Granados's oft-heard (and sublime) 'La maja yelruisenor' is a selection of Tonadillas that's so formulaic and simplistic that even their folksy charm can't hold the ear. Tourist music at its hoariest?

Immediately, though, the more harmonically sophisticated and emotionally entrancing world of the Guridi cycle reels you back in. Can music really capture the feeling of rarefied air? Guridi's 'High up on that mountain' does. The entire cycle is a significant discovery, capturing the dark mysticism of Spanish culture with surprising turns and unexpected splashes of thick harmonic colour. Turina's Tres Poemas are marvellous instances of songs that use nature descriptions to reveal intense inner states of being. The Toldra selections are models of conversational directness. The Montsalvatge cycle is mainly known for its exotically hypnotic 'Lullaby for a little black boy', a favourite encore item for many a diva. Much of the rest of the cycle, though, has an ominous poetry that leaves you wanting more.

Initially, Sylvia Schwartz suffers an unfair advantage by opening her disc with the Goyescas selection that was recorded by Montserrat Caballe with such depth of longing that, even though seemingly out of print, is never out of memory. …

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