I apologize for the absence from new posts recently. It’s one of the busier times of the year for me, but I’m almost finished a couple of new projects which I’ll have up soon. Welcome to those who may have read about my blog in the new issue of CRC! And I do appreciate the wonderful feedback from everyone who has left comments……my apologies for not being able to respond to everyone right at the moment.
Today, I’m presenting two early recordings of works of de Falla. El amor brujo is conducted by the (pictured above) Ernesto Halffter (1905-1989), conductor and composer, and protege of de Falla. In fact, de Falla facilitated Halffter’s 1924 appointment as director of the group heard in this recording, the Orquesta Bética de Cámera. The boxy, but clear recording reveals that they aren’t a world class ensemble, but the responsiveness and authentic accent more than compensate. The Pantomime section is particularly flavorful! Conchita Velasquez is a vivid soloist as well. It’s not quite a complete version, with four of the sixteen sections omitted.
Ataúlfo Argenta recorded El retablo de Maese Pedro again in stereo, but this 1947 version is all but unknown, and has not received a reissue, as far as I know. It’s a difficult set to transfer, with pitch variances between the sides and musically difficult side joins, but I think it’s a performance worth reviving.
As an interlude, I have an obscure set of short works by Guillermo Cases, the pianist in the magnificent recording of Granados’ Danzas espanolas I presented recently in this post. Cases seems to have had a career as a film composer (it’s not easy finding biographic information about him), and certainly these short works could easily work in that role. Light fare certainly, but these are appealing miniatures.
de Falla: El amor brujo
Conchita Velasquez, Soprano
Ernesto Halffter, Conductor
Orquesta Bética de Cámera, Seville
Columbia (UK) LC 10/13
American Columbia 17020/23-D
(matr. WK 1813, 1801, 1802, 1819, 1803, 1814, 1809, 1810)
Guillermo Cases: Marrijecos Suite; Sevillanas (4)
Guillermo Cases, Conductor
Argentinian Odeon 195143/46
(matr. C 12821/24, 12850/53)
de Falla: El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show)
de Falla: Danza ritual del fuego (from El amor brujo)
Ataúlfo Argenta, Conductor
E. D. Bovi, Baritone
E. de la Vara, Tenor
Lola Rodríguez de Aragón, Soprano
Orquesta Nacional de España
Columbia RG 16109-12
Recorded October, 1947
Note: The Argenta set is a slightly redone version of the transfer I posted in mp3 before starting this blog, taming the hum I was unable to eliminate at that time. Thanks to Mike Gartz for the source material for these rarities!