There is no shortage of recordings of Manuel de Falla's El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) and El amor brujo (Love, the Wizard), with more on the way, thanks to the centenary of the former in 2019. Even casual listeners may reflect that this delightful work has never, despite plenty of changes in taste in music of the interwar period, fallen out of style. It was on the cutting edge when it was premiered, and yet its fusion of flamenco influences with growing French neoclassicism is irresistible for general symphonic audiences. It's in this fusion that Pablo Heras-Casado inspires the multinational Mahler Chamber Orchestra to impressive heights. The ballet El sombrero de tres picos, with its humorous, Figaro-like pastoral story, and the ballet-opera El amor brujo are not exactly renderings of flamenco music in symphonic form, although they are often thought of that way, and although the desired vocal sound in each comes from that tradition. Instead, Falla uses the rhythms of flamenco to spice up the clean new sounds that were taking shape in France and that he learned there. The two pieces should not be fiery exercises in making the orchestra emulate a flamenco guitar, but rather something crisper. That's exactly what Heras-Casado delivers here. In both works he's a minute or so faster than average, and he loses none of the rhythmic energy at that speed. Soprano Marina Heredia is an ideal complement, offering a chamber-sized flamenco voice. A enjoyable reading of these well-worn works, enhanced by Teldex Studio sound that takes into account the performers' artistic aims.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat), Ballet|
|El amor brujo (Love, the magician), Ballet|
El círculo mágico. Romance del pescador (The Magic Circle. The Fisherman's Story); A medianoche. Los sortilegios (Midnight. The Spells)
Danza ritual del fuego (para ahuyentar los malos espíritus) (Ritual Fire Dance (to drive away the evil spirits)