This 2012 release from Chandos offers three of Manuel de Falla's most popular orchestral works in lively performances by Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic. The two-act ballet El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) is presented complete and played with high energy and vibrant tone colors, and the orchestra amply demonstrates why this tuneful and brilliantly orchestrated work has found popularity in the concert hall. Noches en los jardines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) is a quasi-concerto for piano and orchestra that creates the exotic atmosphere of the Alhambra and the Sierra de Córdoba through elusive harmonies and shimmering sonorities, and the brilliance of the piano part is just one of many dazzling aspects of this piece. Homenajes (Tributes) is a suite in homage to conductor Enrique Fernández Arbós, as well as to composers Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, and Felipe Pedrell, so it has an elegiac nature that calls for somber melodies, though the scoring for orchestra is quite vivid. Mena leads the orchestra with great care to bring off the most striking effects, and soprano Raquel Lojendio as the cante-jondo soloist in El sombrero de tres picos and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet in Noches en los jardines de España are memorable. Chandos' reproduction is magnificent for a standard-issue CD, and listeners may be surprised to find that this is not a hybrid SACD, despite the spaciousness and depth of the sound.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-cornered Hat)|
|Noches en los jardines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain), for piano & orchestra|
|Homenajes (Tributes), suite for orchestra|