Friday, April 26, 2019
Falla, La Vida Breve, BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena
I must say after some concentrated listening that the full work in this version does not disappoint in the least. Mezzo-sopranos Nancy Fabiola Herrera and Cristina Faus, tenor Aquiles Machado, the chorus and the rest of the cast join with the orchestra for a very memorial performance, especially the second half where the music gets quite folklorically reminiscent in the Spanish tinge zone.
The entire opera sings. You get the full libretto in this edition and a performance that is as painstaking as it is jubilant. His orchestration is worthy of a listen in itself alone. But truly nothing is lacking in either the parts or the performances of the cast either.
The liners tell of De Falla's move from Cadiz to Madrid at the turn of the century, his budding interest in the vocal arts, three unsuccessful attempts to work in Zarzuela, his discovery of Spanish Nationalist composer Felipe Pedrell and study with him in 1902-04, all leading to La Vida Breve, which took on its final form in 1913.
It is a highlight of DeFalla's compositional career and deserves to be more widely heard. This performance brings out all the magic. I do very much recommend it.