Las musas latinas (Penella)

Santiago Ramallé, Tino Pardo, Ramón Alonso, Mimi Aznar, Mari Carmen Aranda, Luisa de Córdoba. Coro y orquesta de Cámara de Madrid, c. Enrique Navarro
Montilla/Orfeon 25-CDE 222

This scintillating divertissement was instrumental in making its composer's name. Three drunkards argue about the relative merits of Italian, French and Spanish wine. In their stupor, they are approached by the "Latin Muses", one each for the three countries, who demonstrate in revue-style the contrasted merits of their respective nations.

The score goes from strength to strength. The "Italian" section is the least memorable, though there is a pretty Dúo napolitano, and an exciting Tarantela final. The brief "French" section features the louche Couplets de chiflar, a gorgeously sentimental Chanson francaise, and a powerfully haunting slow Waltz, almost in the same class as Khatchaturian's from Masquerade or Prokoviev's in War and Peace.

The Spanish section begins with a wild, driven seguidillas, and the varied collection of street dances and songs which follow keep up the high musical standard. The recording is not well reproduced from LP; but the performance itself is first class, with memorable contributions from Luisa de Córdoba as the blousiest of the three muses, and in various other guises!