I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman

Fritz Reiner in Spain

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Manuel de Falla: El amor brujo; The Three-Cornered Hat / Dances; La vida breve / Interlude and Dances;
Isaac Albeniz (trans. Enrique Arbós): Iberia / Triana; Fête-dieu à Séville, Navarra;
Enrique Granados: Goyescas / Intermezzo.

Leontyne Price, soprano
Fritz Reiner, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Recorded in the Chicago Orchestra Hall, April 26, 1958 and March 4, 1963 (El amor brujo)
RCA 88697-04607-2

Spain RCA Living Stereo

Fritz Reiner in Spain

True, the odds couldn’t have been bigger: Fritz Reiner, the icy disciplinarian from Hungary, venturing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra into sunny and unbridledly passionate Spain. Yet, Reiner’s sense of clarity, orchestral balance and rhythmic vitality, the virtuosic brilliance and polish of the Chicago, Leontyne Price’s gripping dark-throated vocals (all accurately rendered by the spectacular RCA Living Stereo sonics from 1963), transform De Falla’s ballet “El amor brujo” into a hard-to-top exploration of Iberian desire, color and atmosphere.

The regrettably short survey of “The Three-Cornered Hat”, recorded in 1958, including the irresistibly lilting final dance, boasts the same qualities. Two excerpts from De Falla’s opera “La Vida breve”, the interlude and the well-known dance, are also played with tremendous zest and brilliance. The remainder of the program from 1958 consists of orchestral transcriptions by Enrique Arbós of three fragments from Isaac Albeniz’ “Iberia”. The Intermezzo from Enrique Granados’ “Goyescas” is offered as a final bonus.

These vintage RCA Living Stereo three-track recordings from 1958 and 1963 have never sounded better in their SACD format. The re-release of the Living Stereo discs on SACD has sadly been discontinued, which is little surprising when for the majority mp3 is considered the standard. Get it while it’s still available.

Copyright © 2013 Marc Haegeman. All Rights Reserved.

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