Camerata del Prado

Delicias españolas

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Filling a gap in the history of Iberian music, Delicias españolas (s.XIX) -- Música para orquesta de cuerda (Spanish Delights of the nineteenth century -- Music for string orchestra) reminds listeners that the peninsula was not entirely devoid of music before the advent of such twentieth century masters as Albeniz, Granados, and de Falla. "Not entirely," unfortunately, is the key phrase. The 11 works by 9 composers here are undeniably lovely little morsels with sweet melodies, charming harmonies, and graceful rhythms. Who could resist the evocative opening of Ruperto Chapí's Nocturno or the sorrowful climax of José I. Jimeno de Lerma's Andante cantabile? But ultimately the music here sounds not only stylistically regressive -- try José María Echeverria's Maria Luisita Gavota -- and profoundly unoriginal -- try Rafael Pérez's Minuetto-Trio -- it wholly lacks a Spanish accent. Listen to any work on this disc: even Rimsky-Korsakov's contemporaneous Capriccio espagñol sounds more authentically Spanish. In these very affectionate but slightly out of tune and nearly out of sync performances by the Camerata del Prado directed by Tomás Garrido, the delights of nineteenth century Spain appear few and fleeting. Recorded at the Auditorio del Conservatorio Profesional de Musica de Getafe in December 2005 and January 2006, Verso's sound here is dim, distant, and altogether lacking in bottom.

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