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As for the other pieces on the disc, the characteristically sultry atmosphere of the Habañera (1931) makes a completely attractive picturesque piece, beautifully orchestrated in a manner that owes much well learnt not only from de Falla but also Joaquín Turina [listen -- track 1, 5:08-6:02]. There is a brief Cavatina of 1933, the latest piece in the recital; two Symphonic Sketches, one sadly autumnal and the other a gentle folksong treament; and a meditative and rapturous little piece for violin and orchestra, Al Amanecer (At Dawn).

It is to be hoped that Adrian Leaper and the Orquesta Filharmónica de Gran Canaria, who make such an impressive job of presenting these early pieces, will explore Ernesto's later output, even though little will quite come to the superb level of the Sinfonietta, but it does includes a Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, a suite Dulcinea of about 1944, and a Guitar Concerto written in 1969. And whilst they are so enthused, a recording of some of his brother's work would not go amiss either (he wrote a Violin Concerto in 1940). The other notable member of the Halffter family was their nephew Cristóbal, a strong Spanish representative of the abstract electro-acoustic Darmstadt school of the 1960s -- but he is another story.

Copyright © 6 April 2003 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK


Ernesto Halffter: Sinfonietta

CD DCA 1078 DDD Stereo 64'22" 2000 ASV Ltd

Mikhail Vostokov, violin; Zdzislaw Tytlak, cello; Julio Joaquín Hernández, double bass; Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria; Adrian Leaper, conductor

Halffter: Habañera (1931); Cavatina (1933); Al Amanecer for violin and orchestra (1937); Esquisses Symphoniques (1925); Sinfonietta in D (1925)



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