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Falla: Works For Stage & Concert Hall

Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain; The Three-cornered Hat, Homenajes – Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena

This disc of works for stage and concert hall by Manuel de Falla starts off Chandos’ new Spanish series with the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena.

Nights in the Gardens of Spain is among Falla’s most impressionistic and poetic works, full of shimmering textures that recall Debussy, but with a hard-edged precision brought to the forefront by the piano. Based on the novel by Alarcón, The Three-cornered Hat was commissioned in 1916 by the impresario Diaghilev for his Russian ballet company. The music is exuberant and vibrantly colourful – a great chance for the BBC Philharmonic to be put through its paces. Also on this disc is the Homenajes, in which Falla pays tribute to fellow musicians and composers. ‘Fanfare sobre el nombre de Arbós’ was written for the seventieth birthday celebrations of the conductor Enrique Fernández Arbós, while ‘Pedrelliana’ pays posthumous homage to Falla’s teacher Felipe Pedrell, who had informed so much of his musical thinking.



 JM  – Ritmo magazine – June 2012

“…Outstanding playing.”

Robert Beattie – – 29 June 2012

                            Music ****      Sound ****

Frank Siebert – Fono Forum magazine – June 2012

"The programme presented here would seem to be the perfect calling card for the BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor, Juanjo Mena. And so it is. The natural affinity for this repertoire that the Spanish conductor possesses is obvious from these performances. The selection of three of Falla’s best orchestral works makes this a valuable addition to the composer’s discography. It also marks what is hoped to be just the beginning of many recordings of Spanish music from Mena and the orchestra…one of my favorite discs so far this year. Bravo to Mena and the BBC Philharmonic!
Chandos, Mena and the BBC Philharmonic have scored a success in the music of Falla."

Leslie Wright – – 9 May 2012

“…This is a punchy, superbly recorded performance. There is some very pointed playing here… He [Bavouzet] is aided by conductor Juanjo Mena, who evinces a true understanding of the music of this native Spain…”

CC – International Piano magazine – May/June 2012

“…it is greatly to the credit of Juanjo Mana and his forces (with a truly authentic touch from Raquel Lojendio) that such a potent atmosphere is achieved … Chandos’s sound is of exceptional clarity and finesse.”

Bryce Morrison – Gramophone magazine – May 2012

"This is the first recording of the BBC Philharmonic under its new chief conductor, Juanjo Mena. Judging by the exuberance of the performances, the orchestra has lost none of its rhythmic precision and tonal colour . Nights … is virtually a piano concerto … and is played here by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet with poetic insight and just enough flamboyance." *****

Michael Kennedy – The Sunday Telegraph – 8 April 2012

&“…this disc has loads to commend it – playing of real verve… The Three-Cornered Hat isn’t heard enough in its complete form; Mena’s gift is to bring out the rhythmic zest, the hints of violence underpinning what can too easily sound like a sequence of musical postcards. Soprano Raquel Lojendio is superb in the ballet’s introduction, matched by the beefy shouts of the orchestra’s men. Then there’s Jean-Efflaum Bavouzet’s account of Nights in the Gardens of Spain …  a delectable, substantial three-movement work. Bavouzet is predictably impressive – technically stunning in the more brilliant passages, but always prepared to melt into Mena’s carefully coloured orchestral backing when acting as a tutti player. The rarity is the late Homenajes, a suite compiled in 1939. Falla recycled earlier works composed in tribute to musicians he had known and admired. The sombre mood of the fourth movement’s Dukas homage is a surprise, but the closing tribute to Felipe Pedrell is drawn with warmth and affection.”

Graham Rickson  – – 31 March 2012

         “Editor’s Choice”
“…the BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor steers the players into richly coloured, rhythmically vigorous accounts of the first two stage works, hauntingly delicate sounds in the
third. Idiomatic vocal contributions from soprano Raquel Lojendio; and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s piano line is by turns sensitive and sparklingly virtuosic.” 

Phillip Sommerich – Classical Music magazine – 25 February 2012

“…The BBC Philharmonic’s new Spanish chief conductor directs characterful performances of works by his compatriot Manuel de Falla… in Mena’s hands the music dances the light-fantastic. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is piano soloist in an atmospheric Nights in the Gardens of Spain, and Homenajes brings to light a little-known suite of elegiac beauty. “  ****

Andrew Clark – The Financial Times – 25 February 2012

                       Recording of the Month
“…the level of engagement with the music is exceptional.”

Robert Maycock – BBC Music magazine – March 2012

                 CD of the Week
“…The BBC Phil respond with electrifying engagement and  authenticity to Mena’s idiomatic way with Falla’s sensuous orchestraton and  his unmistakably Spanish dance rhythms… This disc inaugurates a series devoted to La Musica de España, so we can look forward to more Spanish goodies from Mena, his orchestra and Chandos.”

Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times – 5 February 2012

“… This is the orchestra’s first commercial recording done in its new Salford home at MediaCity. The acoustics sound good and accommodating, with enough space to give the music air and a luminous glow, on which Mena capitalises in The Three-Cornered hat, drawing a range of colour and atmosphere from the orchestra and getting its members to clap and shout “Oi” with some gusto in the introduction. Light and shade are well delineated, as are the contrasts between sultriness and vitality … just as they catch the spirit of Nights in the Gardens of Spain, with Bavouzet adding scintillatingly to the orchestral spectrum.”

Geoffrey Norris – The Telegraph – 28 January 2012


CD available From: 30 January 2011

      Works For Stage & Concert Hall
  Manuel de Falla
El sombrero de tres picos 38:19
1 Introduction. Allegro ma non troppo – Poco meno mosso – Come prima 1:31
2 Part 1. La tarde. Allegretto mosso – Moderato – 5:35
3 Danza de la Moliera (Fandango). Allegro ma non troppo – Moderato 3:36
4 Las uvas. Vivo – Mosso 4:06
5 Part 2. Danza de los vecinos (Sequidillas). Allegro ma non troppo 3:20
6 Danza del Molinero (Farruca). Poco vivo – 3:03
7 [Interlude] Allegretto 1:36
8 [Interlude] Tranquillo 3:02
9 Danza del Corregidor. Allegretto – Poco vivo (giocoso) – Allegro – 6:25
10 Danza final (Jota). Poco mosso – Allegro ritmico, molto moderato e pesante – 5:55
Noches en los jardines de Espa�a 22:14
      (Nights in the Gardens of Spain)
11 1 En el Generalife. Allegretto tranquillo e misterioso – 10:01
12 2 Danza lejana. Allegretto giusto – Poco animato – 4:42
13 3 En los jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba. Vivo – Calmando appena e gradualmente – 7:26
Homenajes 15:46
14 1 � E.F. Arb�s (Fanfare). Allegro con brio – Con giubilo – Meno mosso 0:55
15 2 � Claude Debussy (Elegia de la guitarra). Mesto e calmo – Giusto – I. Tempo 3:22
16 3 Rappel de la Fanfare. Allegro 0:18
17 4 � Paul Dukas (Spes vitae). Andante molto sostenuto 4:00
18 5 Pedrelliana. Moderatamente – Un poco animato – Deciso – Moderato – 7:07
  Raquel Lojendio soprano
  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet piano
  BBC Philharmonic
  Juanjo Mena
  Brian Pidgeon
  Mike George
  Sound Engineer(s)
  Stephen Rinker
  Recorded in:
  MediaCity UK, Salford 18/19 June & 28 Sept 2011

  Format: Digital CD 16Bit 44.1Khz
Originally recorded in:

Pierné: Piano Works

Gabriel Pierné: Piano Concerto; Suites Nos 1 and 2 from Ramuntcho; Divertissements sur un thème pastoral; Marche des petits soldats de plomb – Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Juanjo Mena

Whilst not now a household name, Pierné was a highly respected and very active composer / conductor in his day as well as a key figure in the French musical establishment (he even has a square named after him in Paris). He received the French Légion d’honneur in 1900 and in 1910 conducted the premiere of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. A pupil of Franck and Massenet, he wrote music with tremendous fluency and all his works were written with a characteristically light, French touch. Developing a style that combined the seriousness of Franck with the sensuality of Massenet, Pierné absorbed the essence of both teachers to produce a string of very attractive and tuneful orchestral pieces.

The composer’s perhaps most famous work is the Marche des petits soldats de plomb (March of the Little Lead Soldiers) which enjoyed a great vogue up until recent years. This new recording reveals its catchy charms to new generations.

This is Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s third concerto CD for Chandos, following this year’s highly acclaimed accounts of the piano concertos by Bartók (CHAN 10610) and Ravel (CHSA 5084). That Bavouzet is a true master of the French repertoire is evident from his award-winning series of the complete works for solo piano by Debussy. He is here accompanied by Juanjo Mena, who in September 2011 will become Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic and here makes his debut on Chandos.


“…Mena rounds things out with one piece you’ll surely know, the March of the Little Lead Soldiers from a suite of piano pieces. This is actually the first piece on the program – a delectable aperitif. The sumptuous sounds taken down in  New Broadcasting HOUse, Manchester will fill your from from floor to rafters.”

Haller – American Record Guide – May/June 2011

"These performances are stunning … Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is an unbeatable soloist, and the orchestral playing under Mena is irreproachable … plus terrific sonics and the result is simply irresistable. You’ll love this music."

John Hurwitz – – May 2011

“…Although this music is all about ear-pleasing charm, it comes across as far from lightweight when played with such flair and character. Juanjo Mena’s handling of pace and mood, though never obtrusive, is beautifully skilled.” ****

Malcolm Hayes – Classic FM Magazine May 2011

“Very good recording, detailed and truthful sound.” ***

Michel Fleury  –   Classica (France) – March 2011      


Guy Engels  – Pizzicato – March 2011

                    Editor’s Choice

“Orchestral charm and craftsmanship revealed in a fine Philharmonic recital”  “…For all those who delight in a wholly French grace and magic, this disc is a winner, and it is superbly recorded.”

Bryce Morrison – Gramophone – March 2011

"…Aiding the performers, the BBC Phil and Juanjo Mena a partnership to watch it seems, co-producers Brian Pidgeon and Mike George, together with Steven Rinker’s dynamic and gorgeous sound, have come up with a 2011 Winner long before such Awards have been nominated, let alone chosen. There’s enough Pierné, including some more piano-and-orchestra pieces, for a second volume. Hopefully."

Colin Anderson – – 01 January 2011

                   Performance  ****                  Recording ****
“This attractive disc would make an ideal introduction to the charms of Pierne’s music.”

Christopher Dingle – BBC Music Magazine – February 2011


CD available From: 15 December 2010

  Gabriel Pierne (1863-1937)
1 Marche des petits soldats de plomb 2:08
Piano Concerto 18:44
2 Allegro 7:58
3 Scherzando: Allegro scherzando 4:11
4 Finale: Allegro un poco agitato 6:33
5 Divertissements sur un Theme Pastoral 11:55
Ramuntcho Suite No. 1 18:50
6 Overture 8:18
7 Le Jardin de Gracieuse 4:04
8 La chambre de Franchita 4:31
9 Fandango 1:55
Ramuntcho Suite No. 2 14:56
10 La Cidrerie 1:35
11 Le Couvent 3:51
12 Rapsodie Basque 9:18
  Jean-Efflam Bavouzet piano
  BBC Philharmonic
  Juanjo Mena
  Recorded in:
  Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester
      19 December 2009 (Marche des petits soldats de plomb, Divertissements sur un Theme Pastoral) & 8 and 9 January (other works)
  Ralph Couzens (Executive)
  Brian Pidgeon
  Mike George
  Sound Engineer(s)
  Stephen Rinker
  Denise Else (Assistant: Marche des petits soldats de plomb, Divertissements sur un Theme Pastoral)
  Chris Hardman (Assistant: other works)

  Format: Digital CD 16Bit 44.1Khz
Originally recorded in: 24Bit 96Khz