- Fantasía Morisca
- Symphony in D minor
This little disc does not promise much: two student instrumental compositions by a Spanish composer who was mainly active in theatrical forms. In the event, it's never less than enjoyable, and it hints at various currents that were just starting to boil when they were composed in the mid-1870s. Ruperto Chapí, from the vicinity of Alicante in southern Valencia, originally composed his "Fantasía morisca" (Moorish Fantasy) for military band. Its popularity is attested to by the various other forces for which the work was arranged and revised. The orchestral version, dating from 1879, retains many signs of its band origins, combining marchlike music with hints of Andalusian melody and other proto-nationalist ideas, perhaps inspired by the composer's admiration of Bizet. The four-movement piece also has aspects of symphonic form with its expansive evocation of Granada in the opening movement, followed by a slow "Meditación," motile "Serenata," and straightforward finale. In both this work and the "Symphony in D minor," Chapí expertly handles mode mixture, generating several vectors from the juxtaposition of D minor and D major. The symphony itself shares some of the "Fantasía"'s festive orientation, grafting that onto symphonic procedure seemingly inherited from Mendelssohn. It's an enjoyable mix, looking forward to both Spanish nationalism and to neo-classicism. The enthusiastic performances of the Orquesta del la Comunidad de Madrid are marred only by somewhat boxy sound.