Gloria Isabel Ramos

Germán Á. Beigbeder: Obras para Orquesta

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Born into a wealthy family of vintners in Jerez de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz, Germán Álvarez Beigbeder (1882-1968) was one of the what the Spanish still call the "generation of maestros," the composers who came of age in the early twentieth century and helped establish concert music in Spain. The three works on this program are only a small sampling of a catalog that includes two symphonies, many symphonic poems, many more zarzuela, and even more works for military band. Of the three works here, only Campos Andaluces appears as the composer originally composed and premiered it in 1930, while the other two are arrangements by two of the composer's sons. The four dances of Caprichos de España are orchestrations by José Mariá Álvarez Beigbeder of pieces originally written for band in 1914, and Jerez (First Suite for guitar and orchestra) is a set of four pieces written between 1920 and 1948 arranged by José Mariá Álvarez Beigbeder for guitar and orchestra.

As performed here with more enthusiasm than polish by the Orquesta de Córdoba under Gloria Isabel Ramos, these works prove to be quite excellent. Perhaps the most ingratiating is Jerez, with its tender solo string melodies and exquisitely beautiful guitar writing. Perhaps the most exciting is Caprichos de España, with its rousing rhythms and thrilling climaxes. And certainly the most ambitious is Campos Andaluces, with its heroic themes, rhapsodic structure, and Wagnerian orchestrations. Though not in the same league as Turina, Albeniz, or Granados, Beigbeder's music is worth hearing by fans of Spanish music. Junta de Andalucia's digital sound is small, gray, and boxy.

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