Falla: El Amor Brujo by Euskal Barrokensemble, María José Pérez and Enrike Solinís
Manuel de Falla’s legacy is a study in contradictions. Although Spanish-born, Falla spent seven years in Paris, where he greedily consumed the music of Ravel and Debussy, and marvelled at colourful spectacles at the Ballets Russes. In France, Falla was admired for his Spanish sound palette, but at home he was criticised for his susceptibility to foreign influences. Nowadays, his music is most famous for inspiring Miles Davis’s Sketches of Spain. In El Amor Brujo, Euskal Barrokensemble (under Enrike Solinís) has at last repatriated Falla, recording fiery folk-inspired arrangements of Falla’s compositions alongside those of Tárrega and Rodrigo.
Flamenco singer María José Pérez plays a starring role. I have listened to (and loved) a number of recordings of Falla’s vocal music, and it took some time for my ears to adjust to Pérez’s comparatively rustic, guttural voice. But what she lacks in refinement, she makes up for in passion. While the stereotypically flamenco-sounding Cancion del Fuego Fatuo is not to my taste (Victoria de los Ángeles’s interpretation remains unsurpassed), Pérez’s effervescent voice sounds well in the colourful vocal arrangement of Concierto de Aranjuez (first two movements). With Euskal Barrokensemble as your guide, allow yourself to be transported to Falla’s Spain.
Alexandra Mathew is from Readings Carlton.