A Collection of Suites: A Concert of Spanish Music – Naomi Yoran

What was wrong with a concert-program of Spanish music, especially when the Maestro was Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos?

I was looking forward to a "Complete Spanish Atmosphere" concert. Being familiar with most of the composers, Albeniz, Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla, I was eager to expand my horizons. I did, but too little.

Rafael Fruhbeck’s orchestration of ‘Suite Espanola’ by Albeniz added breath and volume to charming tunes, but I did not feel that it helped lift it up to a higher level of musical expression.

Rodrigo’s ‘Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra’
was nostalgic, even emotional at times (especially the Adagio), but it
still sounded more as a compilation of songs than a Concerto. Somehow I
heared the solo Guitar too feeble in relation to the orchestra,
especially when the short solo parts of the English horn & the
clarinet were so much captivating. The strings which carried the
melody, sounding like a wave of guitars… It was almost as though Pepe Romero’s guitar just echoed the orchestra. I expected a much larger present for the Guitar in a Guitar Concerto.

I enjoyed more than once, these two pieces when performed as chamber
music in intimate settings. Perhaps this is where they belong.

Manuel de Falla’s Suites from his Ballet ‘The Three- corner Hat’
were delightful as well. I remember the Ballet, which I have seen many
years ago, as funny and amusing. This music is quite popular and is
performed regularly on the radio. The PSO performed it joyfully but the music was still just that: playful & impressionistic.

I have never heard before Lorenzo Palomo’s ‘Nocturnos de Andalucia for Guitar & Orchestra’
(composed just 10 years ago) which I found interesting. I especially
liked the traditional sorrowful sound of the guitar interwoven with the
robust contemporary orchestral expressions.

As a whole, pleasant as it all was, the program was no more than a
collection of Suites. I can’t imagine that Spanish music can’t offer
much more than that for a classical music concert.   

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