Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Columbia Spanish Album (1930)

This week I present a program of Spanish music mostly conducted by the man who was considered in the first half of the 20th century to be the dean of Spanish conductors, Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939).  Here he leads the Madrid Symphony Orchestra in works by Isaac Albéniz, Tomás Bretón and Joaquin Turina, in a set that was a mainstay in the US Columbia catalogue for 20 years: mentioned in a TIME magazine article of Nov. 10, 1930, the set was still listed in the 1949 Columbia Catalog.  My copy dates from about halfway between this timespan; the "tombstone" cover pictured above was used by Columbia from c. 1940-43 for most of its Masterworks albums.  By this time, the album was designated "Vol. 1" since a Vol. 2, with works by Granados, Bretón, Turina, and Arbós himself, had appeared in 1938.
Arbós (pictured above in 1894) shares the limelight in this album with one other conductor, Maurice Bastin (misspelled "Bustin" on the record labels), about whom I can find nothing on the Internet.  He leads the Orchestra of the Théatre Monnaie, Brussels, in two dances from De Falla's "La Vida Breve," the second one of which also features a wordless chorus.

Columbia Spanish Album, Vol. 1 - featuring:

De Falla: La Vida Breve - Two Dances
Brussels Monnaie Theatre Orchestra under Maurice Bastin

Bretón: En la Alhambra and Polo Gitano
Albeniz: Intermezzo from "Pepita Jiménez" and Navarra
Turina: Danzas Fantásticas, Nos. 2 and 3
Madrid Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós

Recorded c. 1928-29
Columbia Masterworks Set M-146, five 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 98.7 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 45.29 MB)

This isn't the first time that Señor Arbós has had to share the conducting credits in one of my uploads.  Back in 2007, I uploaded to RMCR a recording of Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 conducted by Désiré Defauw, which had as a filler a Corelli Sarabande conducted by Arbós.  This is still available, as are new FLAC files:

Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major
Brussels Royal Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Désiré Defauw
Recorded March 27-29, 1929
Corelli (arr. Arbós): Sarabande (from Sonata in D minor, Op. 5, No. 7)
Madrid Symphony Orchestra conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós
Recorded April 6, 1929

English Columbia 9916 through 9918, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 66.16 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 25.76 MB)


  1. O that's a beautiful one you share with us! I'm very pleased to hear these recordings, thanks a lot! I only have the Turina on a Grabado Regal record, so I'm very curious to hear more! Thanks

  2. Thank you for posting these gems!
    It's so refreshing to hear orchestral
    playing with a distinct "terroir" as
    opposed to today's homogenized cosmopolitanism.

  3. Fantastic posts indeed!
    Arbos and his Madrid SO are great and idiomatic performers.
    THANKS !