These three magnificent works belong in the repertoire of cellists everywhere. They are full of Villa-Lobos’ signature exotic instrumental textures, folk-like melodies, and abundant invention. They are also harder than hell to play, and difficult to balance. Villa-Lobos was a cellist himself, and loved the instrument’s low, dark register. Penetrating his dense orchestration without making the instrument sound like a dying cow is just one of the many challenges facing cellists attempting to come to grips with this marvelously expressive music, though recordings can solve this problem with sensitive microphone placement. Antonio Meneses understands both the music and its performance problems, and his lower register manages to sound gruff without undue signs of bovine distress. He’s helped by some very sensitive accompaniments; Pérez projects the music’s lush timbres without laying it on too thick.
We are indebted to Romophone and Ward Marston who produced the fine transfers heard here. We must remember that when these were made Sembrich was towards the end of her performing career - she already had been on the opera stage for more than two decades. The acoustic recording process was not overly kind to the soprano voice, but listening to these performances one can surely appreciate the soprano's artistry, technical mastery, and enthusiasm for the music.
Luis Pasqual's powerful production for the Spanish capital sets Da Ponte's timeless story of sleaze and seduction into the dark world of 1940s Spain. Carlos Álvarez, in the title role, toys with the affections of Donna Anna, Zerlina and the Spanish lady Donna Elvira, before his overpowering methods finally bring his own destruction. "José Bros is a luxurious Don Ottavio, with an excellent high register, perfect diction and an exquisite vocal elegance. Alvarez is the perfect Trickster of Seville. Victor Pablo Pérez, one of the most reputed conductors of the Spanish scene, manages a crystal clear work, very attentive to the beauty of Mozart's score." (La Razón, Madrid)
Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel are back with an sensational album. It's been 30 years they recorded their last album “Para la ternura siempre hay tiempo / There is always time for tenderness”. Now, they come back with confidence and strength with “Canciones regaladas / Gift songs”, 12 beautiful and extraordinary songs written by Rubén Blades, Leonard Cohen, José Alfredo Jiménez, Carlos Berlanga, Chico Buarque, Astor Piazzolla, Billy Joel or José Alfonso.
You may have noticed that two composers are named for this opera. As we know, opera librettos frequently were set to music by more than one composer in the 18th (and even 19th) century. Francesco Corselli was French by birth (Francois Courcelle was his real name) but worked in Parma and Madrid. His Farnace was written in 1736. Vivaldi composed his Farnace in 1727. For his performances of Vivaldi's version (in Madrid in October, 2001), the great string player and conductor Jordi Savall decided to do what was common practice back in Vivaldi's time–add some arias and other music from a contemporary work on the same subject–and for this he chose selections from Corselli's score. For the record, the bits of Corselli that Savall includes are a Sinfonia plus a recitative and aria for Berenice used as a prologue to Act 1, an aria for Farnace to begin Act 2, and a march preceding the action in Act 3–altogether a bit more than 20 minutes… –Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Music of Spanish composer Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) is interpreted on this CD by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (Bavarian State Philharmonic created in 1946) directed by French musician of Portuguese ancestry Antonio de Almeida. Turina was a Spanish composer whose essentially moderate number of compositions focused primarily on chamber music and piano. Of the five works originally composed for orchestra only one of them is outside the repertoire of this recording.