Las bribonas (Calleja)

Clothilde Perales, Srta. Sánchez Giménez, Rosario Soler, Juana Benítez, Vicente Carrión and Sr. Soriano, c. Rafael Calleja, Pascual Marquina
Sonifolk 20140 [extracts]

The 2007 Teatro de la Zarzuela revival of Las bribonas proved something of an eye-opener, though perhaps the intrinsic interest of this once-popular example of género ínfimo shouldn't have come as a surprise. The four songs recorded with orchestra around the time of the zarzuela's 1908 premiere provide a fascinating window on the past, despite the sonic limitations. All four, especially Soler's delectable Flamenco pastiche, the tientos "Campanas de la vela", are hustled along to fit onto one 78rpm side each; but under the composer himself and Marquina there's a real whiff of Teatro Apolo in the air, and plenty of the life and light wit of Calleja's inspiration is conveyed. Benítez's very French cuplés de la modista are a special joy.

It forms part of Vol.15 of Sonifolk's invaluable Revista Musical Española series, and the couplings – Rosillo's Los babilonios, Alonso's Gran Clipper and Luna's El Antojo – are also worth hearing, in an even lighter style than the zarzuela.