La eterna canción (Sorozábal)

Teresa Tourné, Ana Higueras, Pedro Lavirgen, Renato Cesari, Julio Catania. Coro Cantores y Orquesta Conciertos de Madrid, c. Pablo Sorozábal
EMI 7243 5 74344 2 3

Purita Giménez, Enriqueta Serrano, Manolo Ibars, Guillermo Palomar, Manuel Gas. Gran Orquesta del Teatro Principal Palacio de Barcelona, c. Pablo Sorozábal
Blue Moon BMCD 7521

A remarkable attempt by Sorozábal to focus the zarzuela once more on contemporary artistic life - in 1943 Madrid. The result, perhaps not surprisingly given Spain's isolation at the time, is a slightly strange period piece, Closeto something like Kiss Me Katein feeling - though not musical language. The plot centres on a composer's disastrous attempts to put together a successful performance of a piece called "La eterna canción." Hmm. The ambitious, haunting score is given great advocacy by Sorozábal himself and an accomplished cast led by Julio Catania as the composer. Recommended as something decidedly out of the ordinary.

The original 1945 cast recordings on Blue Moon make a generous and absorbing offering, with only 14 not-so-vital minutes of the score excised. Giménez is lighter and more incisive than Tourné in the key role of the melancholic Laura, Ibars cuts a more romantic fugure than Lavirgen as the caddish tenor. Palomar is a touchingly youthful Manolo, not so sophisticated as the perfectly manicured Cesari for EMI. With excellent support from singers of the calibre of Gas and Serrano this is a headily atmospheric rival to the later, complete version.