Why five stars, why not one million?
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the famous carrer of this swiss conductor there were many definitive performances. But if you make me pronounce for the first of them, I would mention this record.
The state of art is the term that better describes the spanish dionisiac passion that seems iluminate and engage to all the musician of the Suisse Romande.
All the orchestra that day seemed to be literally so enthusiastic, that gave their best of their craft and walked to the eternity.
Fire, glamorous histamina, passion, elegance, rapport, and a deep comittment with the Three cornered hat makes this record, one of the supreme treasures of its kind in XX century and throws to Ansermet to the rank of the supreme batton virtuosi.
Forget about any other record. Don't experience with other one. It wolud be a waste of time and money.
And thanks to the genius of Manuel de Falla for his contribution."
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 07/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a terrific CD of works by the Spanish composer Manuel De Falla by conductor Ernest Ansermet and the orchestra he founded, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Ansermet's golden-age stereo performances of El Amor Brujo (1955), La Vida Breve and El Sombrero de Tres Picos (both 1961) have to be counted among the finest recordings of these works ever made. In fact, it was Ansermet who conducted the premiere of El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) in 1919. A mathematician prior to his life as a conductor, Ansermet had his critics as he was virtually self-taught, though he did study music as a youth. The mathematics background served him well in the studio as his early stereo recordings of everything from Falla and Stravisnky to Tchaikovsky and Haydn (see my reviews) are engineered to perfection, and often sound better than the recordings by so-called more famous conductors. But don't take my word for it, buy some Ansermet for yourself and see."
Patrick A Daley | Fredericton, New Brunswick | 12/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These recordings have stood the test of time. The 1961 recordings of El sombrero de tres picos and the interludio y danza from La vida breve are warm and spacious with excellent transients, really first class sound. The 1955 recording of El amor brujo is still quite good, smooth and spacious but a bit more distant and the transients are less sharp.
Ansermet's performances could scarcely be surpassed. The Suisse Romande Orchestra is responsive, colorful and alive, playing with style, wit and humor. Ansermet was a great ballet conductor and it shows. I have often heard it said that the Suisse Romande Orchestra was not quite of international stature, that their ensemble was not always perfect (even mentioned in the CD booklet!), and so on. Nevertheless, they made many fine recordings, especially of French, Russian and Spanish music, which belies this reputation, and indeed I have their set of Beethoven symphonies on LP, which includes a number of excellent performances. They deliver the music.
I feel I should compare these recordings of The Three Cornered Hat and Love the Magician with the excellent recordings by Fruehbeck de Burgos with the Philharmonia Orchestra. And you really can't go wrong with them. The performance of The Three Cornered Hat is really very fine, though somewhat lower key than Ansermet's. Victoria de los Angeles sang very well, of course, but Teresa Berganza on the Ansermet recording is more convincing dramatically.
If you must absolutely have first class sound for El amor brujo, the more leisurely performance by Fruehbeck de Burgos, with a fine delivery of the vocals by Nati Mistral, is also hard to fault. Ansermets mezzo-soprano, Marina de Gabarain is also excellent and has more voice, though she's not quite as well recorded. On the whole, I prefer Ansermet, who I find has a better sense of drama, mood and atmosphere."