La alegría de la huerta (Chueca)

Toñy Rosado, Carlos Munguía, Teresa Berganza, Arturo Díaz Martos, Manuel Ortega. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Ataulfo Argenta
Novoson Z-530

Mary Isaura, Mercedes Melo, Juan Arnó, Pedro Vidal. c. Concordio Gelabert
Blue Moon BMCD 7536

For this - one of his later zarzuelas - Chueca chose a rural setting for once in place of his beloved Madrid, and the score has a lyrical expansiveness unusual in his output. The 'second subject' of the Prelude is one of the most heart-rending melodies in any zarzuela, just as the final jota is amongst the most exciting.

Both these performances can be embraced with enthusiasm. The Blue Moon is a good transfer of the 1930 Barcelona sessions under Gelabert, notable for teamwork rather than star performances, overflowing with life and sunshine. This makes an excellent supplement to the evergreen Argenta reading, affectionately moulded and very strongly cast indeed. The only problem with the current digital remix (strangely coupled with Giménez's La boda de Luis Alonso) is some irritating phase distortion in that beautiful Prelude.