This is an orchestration of Isaac Albeniz’s 1887 piano suite, here conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos who did the—gorgeous!—scoring himself. So idiomatically and effectively did Burgos accomplish this task that you’d never guess the work was originally conceived for piano. The eight-movement assemblage is tuneful, picturesque, and brilliantly colored, its dancelike allegros overflowing with Chabrier-like vivacity and effervescence, its moody andantes sensuous, languid, lilting, tinted with the mystery and Moorish exoticism of the various Spanish locales which inspired them.
ORG’s 45rpm remastering is terrific (as indeed are all of the ORG vinyl reissues I’ve heard). Comparison with the late- 60s London LP on which the Suite first appeared reveals sharpened and clarified attacks and articulations, more tightly focused individual strands, fuller and warmer string choirs, more resonant brass, more pillowy air around flutes, clarinets, and oboes, and more nuance and opulence in the orchestral blends. The total effect is to make Albeniz’s composition even more sweeping, rhapsodic, richly hued, evocative, and involving—and that’s saying something, considering how good the sonics are on this recording’s first incarnation.