Henry Wood conducts Turina

To maintain my quota of acoustic orchestral recordings, and to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Joaquin Turina, this weekend I’m making available the earliest recording of any of his orchestral works. The Danzas Fantasticas were completed in 1919, with the score published in Madrid in 1921. Sir Henry Wood recorded them for Columbia in December 1922. Not only was this the first orchestral record of music by Turina, it was the only one to be made by the acoustic process. Wood notes in his autobiography, “My Life of Music,” that he gave the first English performance of this suite.

Turina – Danzas Fantasticas
Columbia L 1467-8
Matrices 75239-2. 75240-2, 75241-2, 75242-2
Recorded 13th December 1922, London
Available from April 1923 to July 1927

Mediafire link for Turina – Danzas Fantasticas – Henry Wood

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

No.1 – Exaltacion (2 sides)
No.2 – Ensueno (1 side)
No.3 – Orgia (1 side)

New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood

This was the premiere recording of this work, and in fact the only acoustic recording of Turina’s orchestral music. This piece was completed in 1919, and the score published in Madrid in 1921 – Wood was most definitely conducting modern music here.

The record labels state the speed as 80rpm, but all sides run at around 81rpm.

Curiously, there is an overlap of approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds between sides 1 and 2. In the files for download I’ve included both edited and unedited versions of the first dance.

This set was reviewed enthusiastically in an early issue of Gramophone magazine, from April 1923. Half the review is taken up with a grumble about the repetition of recorded repertoire (how things change!), particularly Coppelia, Sylvia, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peer Gynt :

Both Sir Henry Wood and the Columbia company are to be commended for these records of a composer almost unknown in this country. It is a relief to find conductors deserting the beaten track, even when they give its less charming things than these dances. … The “Danzas Fantasticas” are unlike anything else that has been recorded. The Spanish idiom is unfamiliar in England, and these two excellent records of dances, which are really fantastic and really Spanish, should be in every representative collection of orchestral records. It is difficult to choose between the two, but on the whole I think I prefer the “Exaltacion.”

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