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Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has produced a fine discography on Chandos, proving time and time again his excellence in French music. Now he moves to Spain, and Noches en los jardines de España. This is a punchy, superbly recorded performance. There is some very pointed playing here, along with a tremendous sense of playfulness in Part II (‘Danza lejana’). Bavouzet’s impressions of a strummed guitar are marvellous in the first movement (‘En el Generalife’). He is aided by conductor Juanjo Mena, who evinces a true understanding of the music of his native Spain. Interesting to compare this with another French take on Falla (who himself studied in Paris), Marcelle Meyer’s 1958 account on Tahra. Her Noches are more affectionate, perhaps more Debussian; Bavouzet is more alive in the animated sections of ‘Danza lejana’. Elsewhere, Mena inspires the BBC Philharmonic to memorable readings of the Homenajes (‘tributes’) and Sombrero.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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