Moros y Cristianos
Ana María Iriarte, Carlos
Munguía. Coro Cantores de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfónica, c.
BMG Alhambra WD
74389 / or / Novoson Z-550
Cora Raga, Vicente Sempere, Augusto
Gonzalo, Manuel Murcia. Gran Orquesta y Coro, c. Antonio Capdevila
Blue Moon BMCD 7524
Judging from the hearty pipe-smoking infidels on the
BMG cover you might guess Moros y Cristianos was a light,
género chico comedy. You would be wrong. Serrano's one-acter is a
star-crossed romance of mediaeval Spain with Moors and Christians replacing
Montagues and Capulets. Despite its brevity (less than 20') it's a substantial
piece requiring full chorus and dance troop - not to mention two very capable
soloists for the lovers, whose music is demanding as well as beautiful.
Munguía excels himself on the 1950's
recording, spinning a controlled legato line to complement his very individual
timbre. Iriarte's gusty voice production is less ingratiating, but their
duet still comes across with sympathetic warmth. Choral and orchestral
contributions are very positive; and Argenta brings a touch of real
poetry to Serrano's technicolour alhambrismo.
Capdevila's brisker pace gives the choral and dance
scenes a real sense of urgency, though he relaxes appropriately for the lyrical
love scene. Raga's full-throated passion has an exotic edge to it, and
though Sempere is penny plain by comparison he partners her well enough.
The 1931 recording and transfer are good, though about 5' orchestral material
is cut. Blue Moon's coupling of La
Dolorosa recordings by Emilio Vendrell, is much more appropriate (and
generous) than BMG's choice - Chueca's genial farce, El