Arde e furor: 18th-century Andalusian Music

Maria Espada soprano, José Hernández Pastor alto, Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla, Diego Fasolis
Passacaille 1031
Music by de Iribarren & Torrens

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla directed Diego Fasolis have unearthed music by two composers associated in the 18th century with Malaga Cathedral; a dramatic solo aria and cantatas by Juan Francés de Iribarren, and later villancicos  for solo voice and orchestra by Jayme Torrens. Notwithstanding attempts in the programme notes to make out that this music is distinctive of the region, Iribarren’s output is firmly in the Mannheim tradition of the Stamitzes, while Torrens’ is just as firmly in the style of Viennese classicism. Any elements of Andalusian flavour, such as the intrusive guitar cross-rhythms which appear in a couple of pieces, have clearly been confected by the performers.

A nicely informative programme note laying out the two composers’ training and influences would have been interesting, but, instead, we have a disappointingly trippy treatment including quotes from Stefan Zweig opining about ‘coincidence, passion and friendship’. Fortunately, the music is all of sufficient standard to speak for itself, while the two soloists, soprano Maria Espada and male alto José Hernández Pastor make delightfully idiomatic contributions and the orchestral forces play expressively and dramatically under the dynamic direction of Diego Fasolis.

D. James Ross

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[The embedded video features an earlier CD cover…]

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