Enrique Granados: Goyescas: “La maja y el ruiseñor” – Canciones amatorias
Manuel de Falla: Siete canciones populares españolas
Joaquin Turina: Tres arias, Opus 26
Danielle Talamantes (soprano), Henry Dehlinger (piano)
Recording: Vienna Presbyterian Church, Vienna, Virginia (September 2-4, 2013) – 51’ 18
MSR Classics #MS1476 – Booklet in English and Spanish
Danielle Talamantes belongs to a new generation of American singers characterized by solid training and impressively commanding technique. This enables a degree of genuine versatility so that a performer best known for opera, orchestral and choral work also has the range and base competence to tackle lieder and other art songs.
And so, while the primary items on Ms. Talamantes’ current curriculum vitae are indeed high profile opera and orchestral engagements, she is making her recording debut with an album of Spanish songs, which she performs with commendable skill, intelligence and artistry. Spanish folk and art songs have long had a strong core appeal, though the genre tends to be rarefied: a new artist is competing automatically with vintage recordings of Victoria de los Angeles, Teresa Berganza, José Carreras and, further back, Conchita Supervia who reportedly was idolized by the late Jennie Tourel, New York’s reigning mezzo and vocal mentor during the mid-twentieth century.
Talamantes may not prompt you to throw out your older LPs and CDs, but her debut is striking, authoritative and decidedly attractive to hear – this reviewer has just ordered extra copies as handy Christmas gifts. Her accompanist, Henry Dehlinger, an experienced and versatile soloist, provides fine, superbly calibrated support throughout the program. His contribution as both a performer and a partner are a major component in the venture’s high quality.
The disc opens with Granados’ familiar “La maja y el ruiseñor” (“The Maiden and the Nightingale”) (from Goyescas), and every moment is ravishing, sensuous and discreetly dramatic. Talamantes does not make an obvious effort to scale down her impressive spinto voice. Rather, she navigates the song with a finesse and subtlety comparable to a great pianist performing encores (I found myself recalling Vladimir Horowitz performing his Carmen Variations in the late 1960s.) The disc continues with more Granados, Canciones amatorias (Love Songs), then de Falla’s familiar Seven Popular Spanish Songs, and finally Turina’s Three Arias, Opus 26.
Listening to the CD three times, I gave up attempting to make detailed notes or observations. There was simply no need to do so, even for a reviewer, when this is a recording which very successfully is intended to be heard and enjoyed by its target listeners.
Charles Pope Jr.