GURIDI: Ten Basque Melodies / An Adventure of Don Quixote

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Jes??s Guridi (1886-1961)Diez melodias vascas (Ten Basque melodies)Asi cantan los chicos (So the boys sing)         Una aventura de Don Quijote (An Adventure of Don Quixote)En un barco fenicio (In a Phoenician Vessel)Canta el gallo tempranero (The early cock is crowing)Jes??s Guridi is regarded not only as one of the twentiethcentury's foremost exponents of Basque nationalism but also as one of Spain'sgreatest operatic and orchestral composers. He lived and worked in an age ofmany different and contrasting aesthetic trends, and absorbed elements of themall while declining to attach himself wholly to the Viennese school or anyother European musical current. His music combined rich Romanticism withtouches of modernity, thereby creating a very personal idiom which brought himsuccess and international renown.             Guridi,who was born in Vitoria in 1886, came from a family of musicians, and his owngifts became apparent at an early age, when several short pieces of his becameknown to Bilbao's musical circles. He studied the organ and composition inParis, then continued his studies in Cologne with Otto Neitzel and in Li?¿gewith Joseph Jongen. On his return to Spain he devoted himself principally toteaching the organ.             In1910 he became choirmaster of the Bilbao Choral Society, for whom he wouldwrite a number of works, the most significant being his three collections ofBasque folk-songs and an early masterpiece: Asi cantan los chicos (1915). Twoof his most important stage works also date from this period: Mirentxu (1915)and Amaya (1920) (Marco Polo 8.225084-85). His principal works include the Diezmelodias vascas, the symphonic poem Una aventura de Don Quijote and thezarzuelas El caserio (The Homestead), La meiga (The Witch) and La cautiva (TheCaptive), among others. As an organist he was famed for his skills atimprovisation and he also made a significant contribution to the instrument'srepertoire with works such as El triptico del Buen Pastor (The Good ShepherdTriptych). He was appointed organ professor at the Madrid Conservatory, andlater became its director. He also wrote film scores and in his later years wasgarlanded with many honours and awards. He died in Madrid in 1961.             Guridi'sfascination with classical themes lay behind En un barco fenicio, his thirdsymphonic poem, which was first performed to great acclaim in Madrid on 30thDecember 1927. Taking as his inspiration Greek myth, specifically the story ofTelemachus, son of Odysseus, rather than Basque folk-lore in this instance, heconstructed a work which, though it may lack a little in terms of formalfreedom and smoothness of contrast, is nevertheless rich in orchestral colour,melodic inventiveness and rhythmical precision.             Asicantan los chicos is based on Spanish children's folk-lore and borrows a numberof motifs from well-known popular songs. Setting poems by Juan Carlos Gortazar,this was Guridi's first major work. In the first of its three scenes, threegroups of carefree children play while the orchestra brilliantly depicts thelight of a summer's afternoon. The second scene is dominated by the restrainedemotion of the children now mourning the loss of one of their friends, who iscarried in a little white coffin, and in the third a sense of joy returns,prevailing over their sad memories.             InMadrid in late 1916 Guridi presented Una aventura de Don Quijote, the onlyorchestral work from the period in which his creative energy was focused on theopera Amaya. Full of both energy and poetry, this is one of his mostfascinating works, with an obvious programmatic content. The thematic materialrepresenting Don Quixote is largely drawn from Basque and Castilian folk-musicand is skilfully woven into the orchestral fabric alongside Guridi's ownoriginal and clearly defined musical ideas.             TheDiez melodias vascas (Madrid, 1941) were another of Guridi's masterpieces,indeed one of the greatest orchestral works by any Spanish composer of thetime, and made his name on the international stage. The material is remarkablefor its variety, intelligent instrumentation and brilliant orchestration intowhich Guridi is not afraid to introduce touches of modernistic acerbity, whilealways remaining true to the essence of the original melodies, theirsimplicity, emotion and light-hearted nature. The solemn Asiko naz, thecharacteristic rhythm of the zortziko (a Basque dance), the warm Amorosa forstrings, the grandeur of the instrumentation in De ronda as well as theimpressionistic effects in Narrativa combine to form an exceptional work,classical and elegant, yet modern too.             Followingthe success of the Diez melodias, Canta el gallo tempranero (Madrid, 8th March1942) marked the mature Guridi's return to a typical form of Castilianfolk-song: the albada. This was traditionally used for scenes portraying younglovers caught unawares by the cock crowing at daybreak. Guridi's originalcomposition, for soprano and small orchestra, including celesta, sets a text byJuan de Arozamena, and in both its bipartite structure and its orchestralcolour faithfully reflects the characteristic simplicity of the traditionalform.Santiago GorostizaTranslated by Susannah Howe
Catalogue number 8557110
Barcode 0747313211029
Release date 05/01/2003
Label Naxos
Format CD
Number of discs 1
Artists Alvarez, Isabel
Alvarez, Isabel
Composers Guridi, Jesus
Guridi, Jesus
Conductors Mena, Juan Jose
Mena, Juan Jose
Orchestras Bilbao Choral Society Conservatory Chorus
Bilbao Symphony Orchestra
Bilbao Choral Society Conservatory Chorus
Bilbao Symphony Orchestra
Producers Walton, Andrew
Walton, Andrew
Disc: 1
Canta el gallo tempranero (The Early Cock is Crowi
1 Narrativa
2 Amorosa
3 Religiosa
4 Epitalamica
5 De ronda
6 Amorosa
7 De ronda
8 Danza
9 Elegiaca
10 Festiva
11 Molto moderato - Andante con moto - Allegro giusto
12 Poema sinfonico
13 En un barco fenicio (In a Phoenician Vessel)
14 Andante ma non troppo lento
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