Slava Grigoryan (guitar)
Southern Cross Soloists
ABC Classics 476 6887
TPT: 70’ 50”
reviewed by Neville Cohn
Chiquitita la novia (Obradors); 5 Tonadillas (Granados); The Three-Cornered
Hat (Falla); Two Romances ( Luis de Milan); Castilian Lyrics (Rodrigo); Verlaine Songs (Brophy); Chamber Concerto (Shaun Rigney)
It is the instrumentalists who score highest in this attractive compilation. Guitarist Slava Grigoryan is in top form, not least in an accompanying role in a bracket of Tonadillas by Granados. Of course, the original score calls for piano accompaniment to the vocal line. But although the guitar lacks the tonal power of a piano, the accompaniments are played with a stylistic understanding and fragile beauty that go a long way to compensate for the guitar’s lower decibel levels.
In a suite drawn from Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat, it is again the instrumentalists who take the lion’s share of the honours in a performance that is an absolute delight with clarinet and horn particularly on form, the latter exceptionally so in the Farruca. From first note to last, there is the most delightful engagement with the music. The CD is worth having for this alone. Paul Dean’s arrangement of the Falla original is masterly in that it preserves the essence of the original to a quite remarkable degree..
Gerard Brophy’s Verlaine Songs make for most appealing listening, too. Soprano Margaret Schindler does wonders with the spoken text in Your Voice, Deep and Low, informing each note with a most compelling, darkly bodeful quality. Grigoryan is well to the fore, too, with profoundly expressive playing in The White Moon, each note registering on the consciousness. And a heart-easing lift to the phrase underscores the dreamy, languorous, Andalucian-style interior mood of It’s True. I rather think that Falla would have loved it. Peter Luff, whose horn playing is like a golden thread through this compilation, wonderfully enhances in A Great Black Slumber that brings Brophy’s work to a close.