During the war, Falla wrote a pantomime ballet titled ‘El Corregidor y la Molinera’ (‘The Magistrate and the Miller’s Wife’) based on a novella by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, was at the 1917 premiere. Liking what he saw, Diaghilev imagined that the ballet, with modifications, would be perfect for his then eight-year-old company. Falla accepted the commission and the new ballet, now called ‘El sombrero de tres picos’ (‘The Three-Cornered Hat’) was premiered in London in 1919. Diaghilev had intended to have Falla himself conduct the ballet but the composer quickly realised that he was not up to the task and so the responsibility went to 35-year-old Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet who had conducted the Ballets Russes since 1915.
‘The Three-Cornered Hat’ has been stunningly re-mastered for this reissue and is coupled with Debussy’s highly picturesque triptych ‘Images’. This continues the much-lauded Ansermet Legacy on Decca which has systematically mined the Decca archive for reissues of much valuable material, some of it released on CD for the first time.
MANUEL DE FALLA
El sombrero de tres picos*
Interludio y danza (La vida breve)
Images pour orchestre
Teresa Berganza, mezzo-soprano*
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineer: Roy Wallace
Recording Location: Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 12 & 17 February 1961 (Falla), 10 & 13 March 1961 (Debussy)
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
‘Listening to Ansermet’s early 1960s version of ‘The Three-Cornered Hat’, you understand why his recordings are cherished by audiophiles: the sound is glitteringly brilliant and full. The performance has lots of character and shows the conductor and his orchestra on top form … the Interlude and Dance from ‘La vida breve’ is especially vivid here.’ Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music