Unlike the Portuguese album we reviewed recently, Enrique Granados Campiña, who died 100 years ago, was a Spanish pianist and composer whose music in places sounds very Spanish, its straightforward sound being immediately appealing.
The CD opens with Intermezzo from his one-act opera Goyescas, apparently one of the best-loved pieces in Spanish music. It’s easy to see why: its string flourishes and Spanish percussion are evocative of men with tight trousers and dangerous women; it was written overnight when he had a sudden gap to fill in the opera, apparently. Impressive.
Danza De Los Ojos Verdes and Danza Gitana (dances of the green eyes and Gypsy dance) are — as their name suggests — lively pieces with a Gypsy feel, helped by tambourines and castanets. These two pieces are so approachable that the youngest member of the Review Corner, who is five, expressed admiration (possibly because the Gypsy dance goes a bit Thunderbirds in one place).
More romantic and sombre is La Nit Del Mort (night of the dead man) and the CD closes with the symphonic poem Dante, one of the most significant Spanish orchestral works of its time. It’s a change in tack from the rest of the CD, not just because of the vocals but as a more “serious” and weighty piece, sounding much more Teutonic than Spanish. It must have touched something in the Spanish psyche though, as it was very popular when it came out.
We’d guess that on vinyl, side one of this CD would get many more plays than the sombre side two (Dante clocks in at 33 minutes, more than half the CD’s 57 minutes).
This CD features Gemma Coma-Alabert (mezzo soprano), Jesús Álvarez Carrión (tenor); Lieder Càmera choir; Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, and is conducted by Pablo González, who is Spanish but was educated and has worked in England.
Out on Naxos 8573264.