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8 Basque Songs

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 15, 2003
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$13.62 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by IMS Distribution and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 15, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • ASIN: B00009L4W4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,659 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G.D. VINE VOICE on June 26, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jesús Arámbarri (1902-1960) may perhaps have been more familiar as a conductor, and his music is, like many composer-conductors, relatively conventional and eclectic but superbly crafted and finely scored. The music on this disc dates mostly from the 1930s, and complements, with some overlap, a collection of orchestral works issued by Claves under Mandeal that also contains the ballet Aiko-Maiko. There is really not much to choose between Juan Mena and the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in the overlapping works (Preludio Gabon-zar sorgiñak, Ocho canciones vascas and the Im memoriam), but overall I may tend to find Claves's program slightly more interesting.

That said, I might also find that Mandeal gets the Preludio Gabon-zar sorgiñak going with somewhat more energy. Like most music on the disc this relatively short work makes use of Basque folk music, and it is a lively little work that in the end fails to really lodge itself in one's memory. The Cuatro impromptus consists of four mildly attractive and well-crafted orchestral pieces, but the main attraction on the disc is probably the beautiful Ocho canciones vascas ("Eight Basque Songs"), exquisite, melodic, atmospheric songs very much in the manner (atmosphere-wise, at least) of Canteloube - these are small gems, but I think I prefer Maria Bayo and Mandeal just a little bit above Itxaro Mentxaka and Mena, though I don't imagine anyone being disappointed by either.

Whereas the songs are colorful and full of light and shadow, the Elegy for orchestra, In memoriam Juan Carlos Gortázar, from 1930, is rather bleak - it is inventive enough to be worth a listen but a bit long for its material (though the coda is very moving).
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Format: Audio CD
The Basque or Euskaldum have their own flag which is NOT the Spanish flag as you show. Basque are neither Spanish or French. They are Basque.
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Jesus Arambarri is a Basque composer who lived from 1902 to 1960. Maurice Ravel came from the same area. One of Arambarri’s teachers was Paul Dukas. I was unfamiliar with this fantastic talent before hearing music from this album on Pandora. I was so impressed that I immediately ordered the album. This Naxos album, recorded in 2000, contains Arambarri’s Witches on New Year’s Eve, four Impromptus for orchestra, eight Basque Melodies for soprano and orchestra, In Memoriam (an elegy for orchestra, Offering, South Wind, and three Fantasia Espanola. Performing are the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra under Juan Jose Mena and soprano Itxaro Mentxaka.

Witches on New Year’s Eve is a rousing work of three short movements that is sure to get your blood moving in the morning (or any other time of the day, for that matter). The writing is full of equal parts of energy and interest. The Impromptu include motifs reminiscent of Witches. The first is another rousing piece, the second soulful, the third even more so, and the final one takes a more agitated character. As a group, the Impromptus are delightfully interesting but not enough so to get many replays on my audio system.

I must confess not to be an enthusiast of many song cycles. Vocally, I’m basically a choral guy, but this cycle is gorgeous. I may actually play it again! The songs are sure to please lovers of solo voice. The Soprano sings beautifully with more than a bit of mezzo in her. The orchestral writing is remarkably interesting and definitely not written as a mere accompaniment.

The elegy, In Memoriam, is as expected a wonderful lament that that becomes reanimated at the 4:00 mark and vacillates between grief and glory for the remainder of the piece before ending on a sublime note. It is just beautiful.
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