Teresa Berganza: The Spanish Soul

Teresa Berganza: The Spanish Soul
Brilliant Classics 6990 [3CDs]

Brilliant Classics’ Teresa Berganza: The Spanish Soul is an outstanding compilation of Spanish songs and cycles by prolific Spanish and Latin American composers, including de Falla, Granados, Turina, Guridi, Toldra, Villa-Lobos, Braga, and Guastavino. The very beauty of this recording is the innate sense of energy in the Spanish style, which both Berganza and pianist Juan Antonio Alvarez Parejo seem to execute effortlessly. Once more, such an extensive collection of well-known compositions alongside rare jewels creates an essential recording.
The major highlights of this 3-CD recording include Joaquin Turina’s Poema en forma de Canciones and six song selections of Villa-Lobos. Turina’s “Nunca olvida” provides a powerful interplay between piano and voice, with both voices sweeping across the dynamic spectrum. Parejo and Berganza intertwine themselves and their lines in the complex current of the Latin rhythm, creating a serene yet breathtaking experience. Villa-Lobos’ songs are a favorite, encompassing the varied Latin dance rhythms while creating specific vignettes in each piece. “Adeus Ema” is performed with such beauty, simplicity, with a touch of a folk element, that one hardly notices its simple structure.
With the renaissance of the song recital, many of these pieces are beautiful, intriguing additions for American performances. This compilation would make a wonderful resource if it included extensive liner notes, specifically with English translations of the Spanish texts, as well as a small bio of each composer and their output. Sadly, it does not. Yet, Berganza is a wondrous performer, allowing the listener to enter her world colored by the diverse timbres and rhythms of Spanish song.
“A recital is a supreme trial to the genuine voice. The singer offers to the best of audiences the best results to their search for genuine beauty. A recital is the essence of beauty.” — Teresa Berganza
Sarah Hoffman