Júpiter y Danae (Literes)

Carlos López-Galarza, Olga Pitarch, Patricia Llorens, Pilar Esteban, Shi Chiao-Tu; Capella de Ministrers, dir. Carles Magraner
Blau CD 190 [2-CD box set]

This zarzuela in three acts (1700, author unknown) is a tantalising curiosity. Only part of Literes's score remains, and there is no complete libretto or spoken text. What's come down to us is in a more thorough-going Spanish style than the composer's later works, such as Júpiter y Semele.

The music is lively and of high quality throughout. Sadly, musicologist and director Magraner was working with something akin to a ruined tapestry, the fragmentary state of which precludes much in the way of narrative momentum or sense of shape. Nor does the solo singing - with the excpetion of Pitarch's sweet Danae - do much to personalise the characters, though the instrumental playing is graceful and piquant.

The torso is cleanly recorded, with excellent notes in Spanish, Catalan and English; but the lack of sung texts is a drawback, though there is a full guide to what is being sung and by whom, and this set is unlikely to have much appeal for the general listener.