Manuel de Falla's El amor brujo is unique in that it has very rarely been performed or recorded in its original version, which remained unpublished after Falla found success with revisions that substantially changed the work. It was reconstructed in the 1980s from Falla's manuscripts, and it's quite a revelation: El amor brujo was originally a mostly vocal work whose Gypsy component was accordingly stronger. The 1915 version has been recorded before, but it gets what may be a definitive performance here by the New York-area group, Perspectives Ensemble, under Angel Gil-Ordóñez, with Cantaora singer Esperanza Fernández. She's a full-throated singer in the flamenco mold, and the story of a Gypsy girl trying to escape her lover's ghost suddenly becomes not a mood setting, but a real dramatic tale. Sample one of Fernández's pieces, such as the Canción del fuego fatuo from Act II, and you may be immediately hooked. Other attractions include the spare sound of Perspectives Ensemble, especially sharp in the small and more Stravinsky-like little opera El retablo de Maese Pedro, from eight years later. A real sleeper from Naxos that alters perceptions of a major work with powerful performances.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|El amor brujo (Love, the Magician)|
Act II: Danza y canción de la bruja fingida: Danza y canción del juego de amor (Dance and Song of the False Witch: Dance and Song of the Game of Love)
|El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show)|