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Hyperion Records

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An Allegory of Happiness by Julio Romero de Torres (1880-1930)
Museo Julio Romero de Torres, Córdoba / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67954
Recording details: February 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: February 2013
Total duration: 17 minutes 38 seconds

'Guridi's 'High up on that mountain' … is a significant discovery, capturing the dark mysticism of Spanish culture with surprising turns and unexpected splashes of thick harmonic colour. Turina's Tres poemas are marvellous instances of songs that use nature descriptions to reveal intense inner states of being … the rest of the disc suggests the presence of a major artist' (Gramophone)

'Sylvia Schwartz is Spanish born, and these warmly seductive and rhythmically supple performances of a beguiling selection of songs by Granados, Turina, Montsalvatge and others are idiomatic and playful … Malcolm Martineau’s robust playing of the piano parts is a joy' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Soprano Sylvia Schwartz's reputation as a rising star is confirmed by her Hyperion debut album, a programme of songs from her native Spain, finely accompanied by Malcolm Martineau. There's a tangy, lived-in quality in Schwartz's tone that is immediately appealing … a wide emotional range that easily encompasses the wit of Granados's Tonadillas en Estilo Antiguo, the operatic scale of Turina's Tres poemas and the reined-in political fury of Montsalvatge's Cinco canciones negras. There are some exquisite songs in Catalan too' (The Guardian)

'This is a delightful programme of early twentieth-century Spanish song full of the atmosphere and seductive charms of Spain … Martineau proves to be an instinctive Spaniophile in his enchantingly nuanced accompaniments. He brings us as close as it is possible in a purely aural medium to the sights and scents of Spain … ever the ideal accompanist, he does not so much prod and pull as envelop the singer, leaving her all the space in the world to root into the very soul of these richly characterful songs … making her recital debut on Hyperion, Sylvia Schwartz delivers these songs with impressive precision and security … a voice so clearly focused that it seems to shine through the music like a bright guiding light. She has reserves of passion and emotion, which wisely she holds back for the very few occasions where it is musically warranted, but she mostly presents clear, confident and unaffected performances, revealing a total command over every aspect of the music. The vocal timbre has a pleasing combination of purity and rich maturity which makes for some arresting singing … strong and compelling performances' (International Record Review)

'Schwartz shows a wonderful voice, warm responsiveness to the texts and perfectly idiomatic Spanish. The programme is well-chosen, showing variety of mood, style and soundworld: Guridi's Six Catalan Songs have never been done more vibrantly, more movingly on record. Martineau is, as ever, the perfect collaborator' (Classical Music)

'In Turina's Tres poemas, the soprano glides from sinuous habanera to a soaring paean to nature, moving from gentle breezes to fires and weeping willows' (The New Zealand Herald)

Seis canciones castellanas
composer
published in 1941 by Union Musical Española; based on popular Castilian melodies
author of text

Introduction
The Seis canciones castellanas were published in 1941 by Union Musical Española, the state publishing company, and have remained firmly in the repertoire since the day of their publication. All six songs feature popular Castilian melodies that Guridi harmonizes with great skill.

from notes by Richard Stokes © 2013

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