The recorded audio, despite its relatively brief existence in its various inceptions, has allowed a larger public to discover and enjoy compositions, both new and old, that would have otherwise remained forever forgotten.
This medium has thus allowed audiences worldwide to come across many international contemporary composers who would otherwise have remained only known in their own country of birth or perhaps by a small niche of aficionados Fernando Jamandreu Obradors is certainly part of this group of composers and in the CD, here presented, his compositions provide listeners with an integral work of “canciones clásicas españolas” (which include individual songs always based on popular texts but not present in the four volumes published previously).
This musical corpus of unquestionable charm, despite its brevity, is capable of perfectly capturing the cultural and intellectual spirit of Obradors’ time and of his native country.
There are only a few biographies available about his life but all of these relate that he began studying piano with his mother Julia. Largely self-taught in composition, harmony and Counterpoint, he then continued his studies at the Escuela Municipal de Música de Barcelona. His teachers were Lluis Millet, Joan Lamote de Grignon, and finally Antonio Nicolau, who was credited with giving him valuable guidance in musical composition. Obradors completed his musical studies in Paris, after which he began giving concerts with orchestras in Barcelona, Paris, Milan, and Buenos Aires. After the Spanish Civil War, he regularly conducted the Orchestra at the Liceu of Barcelona and over there he created the Orquestra Sinfónica. He was also conducting the Radio Barcelona Orchestra. In 1944 he moved to Las Palmas in the Canary Island were he became Principal of the Conservatory and conductor of the Orquestra de la Sociedad Filarmonica de Gran Canaria. There he acquired a great deal of success and thus contributed greatly to the musical life of the city. In the same year he received a state award honouring his success and his twenty-five years dedicated to music. However the following year, in 1945, Obradors returned to Cataluña due to serious health problems and there he passed away a short time later. He wrote several orchestral works, including “El Poema de la Jungla”, inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and the “Réplica a la Farandola de Bizet”. The latter was a tripartite symphonic work of great achievement, with complex musical compositions, which demonstrated the artist’s perfect mastery in writing for a full orchestra. He also composed several ‘zarzuelas’, some of them in collaboration with his mother Julia (El Rancho Azul and Los Mosqueteros del Rey), some with G. Cases (Los Verbeneros and Mi Baby), with I. Roselló (Pim Pam Pum), or others. He wrote a treatise on orchestration that was published in 1965, twenty years after his death. Obradors is best known for his “Canciones Clásicas Españolas” that were composed between 1921 and 1941. The songs are collected in four volumes, which are based on traditional Spanish texts, poems and melodies, and fully represent the essence of his country’s musical spirit. He also composed other songs that are not in this collection: La “Casada Infiel” based on a poem by his friend, Federico García Lorca, “En el Pinar” (author anonymous) and “La Cigüena” based on a Arabic-Spanish poems of Al Andalus. The accompaniments in his compositions sound extremely complex and are obtained by employing block and arpeggiated chord patterns of straight-forward harmony, mimicking guitar chords. This approach creates beautiful, sweeping melodies on the piano while vocal and instrumental themes, melodically unmatched most of the time, cause the listener to become entranced by the resulting wash of sound. The main accompaniment is often influenced by the guitar and has a dance-like flavour typical of the traditional “flamenco” dance of Spain. To be faithful to Obradors’ memory, it is necessary to mention that he wrote the following text (here translated from Spanish) as a preface to his first set of songs:
The lyrics of these “Canciones Clasicas Españolas”, true jewels of Castilian poetry, have been chosen from among the best collections of Rivadaneyra, Lafuente, Valera; from the autographed code of Juan Ponce, discovered and commented by Barbieri, and from several other existing documents in the National Library and the City Council of Madrid.
Some of them are ancient, such as the trova “La mi sola Laureola” and “Con amores, la mi madre”, which were written to be performed before kings and other important personalities
of the time. Anchieta wrote the latter, and using the poetic vihuela, he performed it for the joyful entertainment of H.M. Queen Elizabeth I, the Catholic one.’
All the lyrics have credits to fellow musicians, painters, poets and intellectuals of Obradors’ time:
“La mi sola Laureola” to Filippo Pedrell (1841-1922), Spanish composer, guitarist, musicologist and
esteemed friend of Italian composer Giovanni Tebaldini.
“Al Amor” to Conrado del Campo (1878-1953), Spanish composer and viola player founder of the Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, who wrote seventeen symphonic compositions.
“¿Corazon porqué pasais…?” to Susan Metcalfe Casals (1878-1959), an American mezzo-soprano who married Pablo Casals and who was highly respected in Lieder and concert recitals.
“El Majo Celoso” to Aga Lahowska (XIX century- ?) a Polish soprano and mezzo-soprano singer who developed part of her professional career in Spain in
close collaboration with Manuel de Falla.
“Con amores, la mi madre…” to the Duke of Tovar (The Dukedom of Tovar is a Spanish nobility title created on December 27, 1906 by King Alfonso XIII in favor of Rodrigo de Figueroa y Torres, Marquis of Gauna).
“Del cabello mas sútil” to Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre (1887- 1938) known as Nestor, a painter who participated extensively in European symbolism and modernism.
“Chiquitita la novia” to Eduardo L. Chavarri (1871-1970) a Spanish composer, writer and musicologist, pioneer of modernism in Spain.
Finally, it is interesting to note that all of the lyrics do not seem intended at a specific vocal register. The second volume is titled “Las Graciosas”, which leads us to assume it must have been written specifically for female singers and from Obradors’ credits to various female vocalists of his time, one can also guess that he imagined these lyrics to be sung by singers with a round and dark tone of voice, which would be well suited to the popular style of his splendid collection. The lyrics of Obradors, especially those of his first volume, remain a milestone in twentieth-century Spanish chamber vocal music.
Album Notes by Daniela Nuzzoli & Raúl Hernández
Daniela Nuzzoli (Mezzosoprano) was born in Senigallia (Ancona). She debuted at Radio France (Paris) in the Piccinni’s opera "Iphigenie en Tauride" accompanied by the Orchestre National de France under the direction of Enrique Mazzola. She was "Donna Elvira" in Don Giovanni by W.A. Mozart at the Teatro delle Erbe in Milan under the direction of Charles Olivieri-Munroe. For the 64° Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago (Italy) she was “Donna Anna” in Il Convitato di Pietra by Giovanni Pacini, “Musico” in Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini, “Ostane” in Montezuma by Baldassarre Galuppi, “Zita” in Gianni Schicchi and “Frugola” in Il Tabarro by Puccini. During the same season she also performed in Galuppi’s Montezuma at Landes Thaeater in Salzburg (Austria) with the Mozarteum Orchestra. In 2013 Tactus released a CD of Giuseppe Giordani’s Offertories for voice and organ (world premiere). In 2015, with the same Label, a CD “Romanze da Camera” by Verdi for voice and historical piano with the tenor Raúl Hernández. In 2017 a double CD of Sacred Works by Pellegrino Santucci and in 2018 a CD for voice and organ of unpublished sacred works from 18th and 19th centuries by the “Maestros” of Santa Casa of Loreto (Italy).
Maria Laura Martorana: Italian coloratura soprano Maria Laura Martorana is an eclectic performer of Baroque, belcant and modern repertoire. She excelled in International Competitions, and she is singing from 2003 in prestigious Theaters such as La Scala in Milano, San Carlo in Napoli, la Fenice, Theater An der Wien, Halle, Versailles, Korean Theaters, in Operas and concerts under the baton of Abbado, Antonini, Curtis, Fasolis, Jurowski, Marcon, Rousset, Sardelli. Her most appreciated roles are Alcina and the Queen of the Night, as well as coloratura characters of the Neapolitan and Venetian eighteenth century. Maria Laura Martorana records for Sony, Brilliant Classics, Dynamic, CPO, Nuova Era, Virgin Classics musics by Mozart, Paisiello, Rossini, Porpora, Händel, Vivaldi, Cherubini, Sarro, Salieri . Keen on studying ancient manuscripts, graduated in molecular Biology and researcher at the Institut Curie for two years, Maria Laura teaches Canto at the italian Conservatorio Tchaikovsky and Canto Rinascimentale e Barocco at the Conservatorio Briccialdi.
Raúl Hernández (Tenor) was born in México. Possessing a voice of uncommon lyric beauty is recognized as one of the most gifted interpreters of the Bel Canto repertoire. Raúl sung throughout the world with much acclaim the role of Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto) at Metropolitan Opera House (MET), Liceu di Barcellona and many others. Highly appraised are his performances of Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) performed at the Metropolitan Opera House (MET), the Austin Lyric Opera, the New York City Opera and at the “Festival del Centro Historico” in Mexico City. He is also well known for his amorous and fiery Alfredo in La Traviata, which he performed at many prestigious international theatres such as the Teatro Real de Madrid, the Kentucky Opera, the Manitoba Opera, the Opera de Quebec, the Opera Lyra in Ottawa, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee and the Atlanta Opera. He has also sang the role of Orombello (Beatrice di Tenda) together with soprano Edita Gruberova in several places and recorded a DVD, as Fenton (Falstaf) at The Karajan Festival in Baden-Baden - Germany, as Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore) at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo - Italy, as Gennaro (Lucrezia Borgia) at the Teatro Regio di Torino – Italy as well as at a main concert during The Festival of Arts of Palm Desert - USA. He makes an easy transition from the operatic to the concert stage and has delivered moving performances in Mozart’s “Requiem”, “Missa Brevis”, in Handel’s “Messiah” and in Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” between others. In 2015 Tactus Label released a monographic CD featuring Giuseppe Verdi’s songs and in 2017 a double CD of Sacred Works by the Italian composer Pellegrino Santucci.