Los gavilanes (Guerrero)

Angeles Gulin, Maria Oran, Julian Molina, Antonio Blancas. Coro de camera de Orfeón Donostiarra, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
BMG Ariola España WD 71432

Inmaculada Egido, Milagros Poblador, Fernando Belaza, Antonio Ordóñez. Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de RTVE, c. Alberto Blancafort
RTVE Música 65085

Manuel Ausensi, Teresa Berganza, Toñy Rosado, Carlos Munguía. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c. Ataulfo Argenta
Novoson Z-533

Dolores Ripolles, Alicia Armentia, Renato Cesari, Pedro Lavirgen. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta de Conceiertos de Madrid, c. Federico Moreno Torroba
EMI 5 74154 2

Cora Raga, Amparo Saus, Marcos Redondo, Emilio Vendrell. Orquesta Sinfónica y Coros, c. Antonio Capdevila
Aria Recordings CD 1015 [highlights]

Eduardo Brito, Ricardo Mayral, Mary Isaura, Trini Avelli. c. Concordio Gelabert
Blue Moon BMCD 7504 [highlights]

Emilio Vendrell, Eugenia Zuffoli. c. Jacinto Guerrero
Blue Moon BMCD 7538 [extracts]

An excellent performance on BMG of an absorbing work, unusually wide-ranging in its sympathies and precise in mood. In particular the role of "The Sparrowhawk" himself finds Antonio Blancas in fine form, generous of tone but never oversinging, the voice in superb condition.

Frankly there is little need to look beyond this for a modern performance. The RTVE is a souvenir of a live concert, and good though singers such as Ordóñez are, they cannot match their studio counterparts. The score is given absolutely complete, which does redress the balance slightly. Given Cesari's warm but wooly Juan, and Lavirgen's effortful "Flor roja", the 1961 EMI falls short. Argenta's elderly-sounding set has its adherants, not surprisingly given the quality of the soprano soloists, but his tenor and baritone are painfully unsubtle.

Of the several sets of historical extracts on offer, featuring Mayral, Folgar, Vendrell and others, the Aria extracts featuring Vendrell and Redondo stand out. "Flor roja" has perhaps never been better sung, and the same applies to Redondo's major solos. With the women scarcely less impressive, Capdevila at the helm, and good recording (coupled with a complete Bohemios of equal interest) this is a most desirable adjunct to the BMG complete recording, a wonderful reminder of a Golden Age of Spanish singing.