La duquesa del candil (Leoz)

Ana María Iriarte, Esteban Leoz, Celia Langa, Manuel Ausensi. Coro y Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Jesús García Leoz
Blue Moon BMCD 7510 [highlights]

Jesús García Leoz is a fascinating figure, for although this is his only completed stage work he was Spain’s leading – and most prolific – film composer in the years after the Civil War, as well as making an important and distinctive contribution to the Spanish art song repertoire. These extracts from his 1948 prize-winning zarzuela, set in 1730s Madrid to a nostalgic libretto by the Fernández Shaws were recorded with the original cast, and have been well transferred by Blue Moon.

Of the nine numbers recorded, the popular ‘Serranilla’ is beautifully placed by Iriarte, in her freshest voice as Paca, while Langa as the titular duchess also sings strongly. The two male leads are very capably dispatched by Ausensi and Esteban Leoz, the composer’s brother. Most interesting of all are the orchestral items, precisely conducted by the composer himself. Highly recommended extracts, from one of the most interesting post-war zarzuelas.