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Los elementos (Literes)

Marta Almajano, Lola Casariego, Anne Grimm, Xenia Meijer, Carlos Mena, Jordi Ricart. Al Ayre Español, dir. Eduardo López Banzo.
BMG Classics 05472 77385 2

This early work of Literes has sometimes been claimed as a baroque zarzuela, but in fact it is nothing of the kind. The composer and his regular librettist, the poet José de Cañizares, called it an "opera armonica al estilo ytaliano", which is precisely what it is. A one-act allegory of Time and the Four Elements, it is without the spoken dialogue, comedy interludes or popular Spanish music which characterise the zarzuela. Even on its own terms, it can't compare with Literes' later Acis y Galatea or Júpiter y Semele for musical or dramatic quality, excellent though the advocacy of Banzo and his team certainly is.

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