The very fact that Manuel de Falla composed his ballet El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) for the ambitious impresario Serge Diaghilev and his epoch-making Ballets Russes indicates the historical importance of this work. Although the Impressionistic character of the musical language reflects his studies with Debussy, the composer never once renounces his native origins. Overflowing with the thrilling rhythms and electrifying melodies of Spanish folkmusic, this work achieved worldwide popularity virtually overnight. As so often before in this genre, the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet proves once again in this DECCA recording that he is a power to be reckoned with. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande executes the slightest nuance, the most exquisite of figures and gentlest lyrical tone with meticulous precision. Powerful rolls of thunder, the click of castanets, lively rhythms and rich sonority conjure up a picture of fiery Spanish temperament so tangibly before our eyes that any comment on the recording quality appears almost superfluous. In a nutshell: this record is, quite simply, incredibly good.
Recording: February 1960 at Victoria Hall, Geneva by Roy Wallace / Production: James Walker