Classic Falla from a Suspicious Source

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 8

These performances remain reference recordings for all of this music. The Three-Cornered Hat and dance from La Vida Breve were recorded by Decca, Nights in the Gardens of Spain by Philips. Both remain available on those labels (or their successors at Universal). So what is the source of this coupling? The back of the tray card claims that they are “DSD remastered from stereo live analogue broadcast mastertapes,” which is patently untrue. The booklet states “Digital mastering SACD from old original open reel tapes.” This at least is plausible, if not necessarily legal.

I am not in a position to opine on whether or not these recordings are now in the public domain. If they aren’t, then Praga should not be issuing them, plain and simple. If they are, then the subject shifts to provenance. All of the performances have been or remain recently available in excellently remastered sound, at mid- to budget price. Praga is trying to sell them as SACDs, which of course they are not, and at a premium price to boot. Everything about this disc, and the series of which it is a part, fails to pass the smell test as far as I am concerned. Harmonia Mundi should not be distributing it, and I frankly find it impossible to recommend it until the question of legality is resolved unambiguously.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This one, but on Decca or Philips

  • FALLA, MANUEL DE:
    Nights in the Gardens of Spain; The Three-Cornered Hat; Interlude and Dance from La vida breve

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