Albéniz - “Iberia” / Turina - Danzas fantásticas - Ernest Ansermet
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual - “Iberia”
Joaquín Turina Pérez - Danzas fantásticas
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Decca
Recording: Mai 1960 at Victoria Hall, Geneva by Roy Wallace
Production: James Walker
Reissued in June 1996
Side A :
- Evocación (Iberia)
- El Corpus en Sevilla (Iberia)
- Triana (Iberia)
- El Puerto (Iberia)
Side B :
- El Albaicín (Iberia)
- Exaltación (Fantásticas)
- Ensueño (Fantásticas)
- Orgia (Fantásticas)
“Isaac Albeniz was an influential figure of the Post–Romantic era. A virtuoso pianist, he composed for many genres, emphasizing the culture and folklore of Spain. He influenced a generation of Spanish composers including Joaquin Turina. Speakers Corner has released a re-mastered stereo 180-gram vinyl of two beloved Spanish works, Albeniz’s Iberia and Turina’s Danzas Fantasticas. Both are performed by L’Orchestre De La Suisse Romand, conducted by Ernest Ansermet. It is a veritable celebration of Spanish classical music with French influences.
Iberia is widely known for its rhythmic and stylistic complexity. The orchestra opens with the emotive strains of “Evocacion”. The strings enhance and complement the woodwinds. The graceful moods (with a soft flute) are expressive and utilize a subtle instrumental elocution. The hushed finale is dream-like and compelling. Precision and appealing counterpoint with soaring violins and a full orchestra impact enliven “El Corpus En Sevilla”. A transition to a woodwind-led interlude includes touches like a French horn and then morphs into a full instrumental flourish with dramatic accents and playful nuances. The last “movement” exudes somber melancholy. “Triana” is livelier and more sophisticated. Brass and woodwind accents (with the help of as kettle drum) give way to a sweeping motif that is moderated by cello. Its flamenco exuberance is captured by the arrangement. Side A closes with the swirling polo, “El Puerto”. With a balance of palpable buoyancy and and melodic gravitas, the music is hypnotic.
The last two tracks of Iberia are complex and unique translations. “El Albacin” engages in a buleria: to evoke the sprightly, intricate tapestry of Granada’s gypsy quarter. The music shifts from dynamic resonance to understated ambience with fluency. There is a “dialogue” in the musical execution and a pleasing mix of pizzicato strings and lower-register woodwinds. “Navarra” has a different feel, relentlessly jovial aided by trumpet. Turina’s Danzas Fantasticas is presented in three pieces. Like Iberia, it was originally composed for piano. This trio of “miniature: compositions reflect the spirit of Andalusia and local dances. “Exaltacion” is fully realized with harps, woodwinds, strings and brass. There is a shift on “Ensueno” as the horns are front and center in exchanges with the orchestra. Occasional crescendos and descending notes are mixed in a unique blend of processional and folksy imagery. There is brightness and heart-warming aesthetics throughout “Orgia”. With tango elegance and populist attitude, Turina’s passion is articulated with bursts of energy and mellower harmonization.
Albeniz: Iberia/Turina:Danzas Fantasticas is a fine example of early 20th-Century classical populism. The fuller orchestration of these pianos works is accessible and coherent. Speakers Corner Records has given this album a significant vinyl upgrade. The stunning impressionistic cover painting and Decca 60’s stereophonic notes on the sleeve will bring a smile to hi-fi enthusiasts. More importantly, this music will appeal to listeners with limited classical exposure.” Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, August 2021
As in numerous other works by Spanish composers, Isaac Albéniz’s aim in his Iberia Suite was to portray the landscape and express the zest for life which is so abundant in southern countries. Infused with folkmusic elements, the suite is introduced by the dancelike Evocación which vividly evokes a picture of Iberia. The lush, extravagant harmonies and the stark contrasts of the dynamics in particular – from the softest pianissimo to the extreme fortissimo – certainly whet one’s appetite. Don’t worry – Spain has a lot to offer!
The next movement, El Corpus en Sevilla transports us to Andalusia where a solemn procession is taking place to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. This is followed by a sparkling Triana in which the various complex and brilliant rhythms of the national dances Almería, Rondeña and Fandango are ingeniously combined. And the two movements El puerto and El Albaicín are no less exciting: the first presents a rich potpourri of types of Spanish songs, while the second – held in the minor key – conjures up a picture of Granada’s gypsy quarter.
Turina’s Danzas fantásticas are noted for their sumptuous orchestration and marked rhythms. A better choice to round off this first-class recording, dedicated to Spanish tradition, is almost impossible to imagine.