Ataulfo Argenta: Unpublished Recordings - RTVE-Musica 65097 (4CD set)
NM / made in Spain
This remarkable and very rare 4CD collection produced by RTVE-Musica Madrid (65097, manufactured in Spain, ADD mono) pays tribute to legendary conductor Ataulfo Argenta in a series of little-known ‘live’ broadcasts, featuring the Spanish repertoire in much repertoire he did not record commercially, in tandem with such soloists as Arthur Grumiaux and Yehudi Menuhin, and providing perhaps for the first time, evidence of Argenta’s considerable skills as a pianist.
Disc 1 contains Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony Op.55 (rec. with the Orquestra Nacional de Espana) as well as the Violin Sonata No.8 Op. 30, where Argenta accompanies violinist Arthur Grumiaux.
Disc 2 is comprised of a commanding performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto, with Yehudi Menuhin the soloist, accompanied by Argenta and the Orquesta Nacional de Espana. Filling out the CD we find again Argenta at the piano, partnering Arthur Grumiaux in Beethoven’s Violin Sonata Op.100.
Disc 3 includes the ‘Concierto Vasco’ for Piano and Orchestra of Francisco Escudero, with Martin Imaz the distinguished soloist and the Bavarian RSO. Rounding out the CD is the de Falla’s orchestral suite from El Amor Brujo with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Disc 4 consists entirely of performances given with the Orquesta de la Suisse Romande – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Smetana’s Overture to the Bartered Bride, and Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel Op. 28.
Documentation concnering recording dates and locations could be bettered, but the very attractive booklet nonetheless contains a number of archival photos of the conductor. The sound throughout is of fine broadcast quality. The highlights of the set are perhaps the Beethoven ‘Eroica’ and the performances of Argenta as piano accompanist, but all are touched with distinction. A set that should have seen much wider distribution, a handsome memorial to an extraordinary musician who died tragically young.