Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain; The Three-Cornered Hat; La vida breve (Interlude and Dance); El amor brujo (Ritual Fire Dance)

Reviewed on Tue 30 May, 2017

Anyone familiar with the great Ernest Ansermet's vintage Decca recordings with this same band will detect a kindred scrupulous care for texture, rhythm and atmosphere, beaming affection and selfless musicality under Kazuki Yamada's strongly communicative lead.

This latest addition to Kazuki Yamada's highly desirable series of recordings for Pentatone at the helm of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande serves up over 70 minutes of Manuel de Falla in performances of striking flair, tenderness, flexibility and charm. Indeed, anyone familiar with the great Ernest Ansermet's vintage Decca accounts with this same band of the irresistible 1919 ballet The Three-Cornered Hat and wholly captivating 'Interlude and Dance' from the opera La vida breve will detect a kindred scrupulous care for texture, rhythm and atmosphere, beaming affection and selfless musicality under Yamada's strongly communicative lead. If, in Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Mari Kodama doesn't always eclipse cherished memories of, say, Artur Rubinstein (RCA) or Alicia de Larrocha (Decca), she consistently displays a responsiveness, poise and poetry that do full justice to Falla's gorgeously fragrant inspiration; Yamada and company likewise lend her outstandingly sympathetic, watchful support. Pentatone's state-of-the-art engineering within the wonderfully glowing acoustic of Geneva's Victoria Hall is the icing on the cake.
–Andrew Achenbach