La Quinta de Mahler in the center of Madrid (Spain) is a rare place; a hybrid of a CD shop, books shop, living room and meeting place for passionate lovers of classical music. “La Quinta” as it is affectionately called, is the place to come to get acquainted with the newest sound recordings of both major and independent label projects taking place in Spain and Europe. During the day its a quiet place to browse at your leisure and engage in interesting conversations with fans of classical music, and talk about the latest opera production at the Teatro Real Opera House, which is a scant two blocks away. In the evening there are lectures and short term classes led by Spanish musicologists and classical music commentators from Radio Nacional de España and the major newspapers and magazines of Spain. We certainly don’t have a place like it here in New York City, as we have lost most of our classical record stores (save Academy Records in Chelsea) and sheet music shops.
Among the many activities “La Quinta” hosts are CD presentations, of which España alla Rossini participated in on September 30, 2015. In addition to Emilio González Sanz and myself, we had the great fortune of having our friend José Luis Téllez relate to our audience that evening the story of Rossini and Spain. Mr. Téllez is a musicologist and commentator, and is on staff at the Teatro Real; in an engaging manner, he told the audience about the anecdotes and facts of Rossini and Spain and how the repertoire of the sound disc is related to our story.
In the audience we had family and friends that had traveled from ouside of Madrid and as far away as New York City. That evening we had many of our supporters and advisers: from our disc label iTinerant Records, to Fundación Don de Juan de Borbón, Fundación Fernando de Castro; many of the persons that contributed to the crowd funding that made the disc possible; among our many friends was the composer Miguel Bustamante who wrote this chronicle (in Spanish) of the event:
From the disc we first played “A Granada” relating the story of how this song by Rossini is in castillian, with text by playwright Ventura de la Vega, followed by the song “Nizza” so the audience could hear the accompaniment with castanets of Cristina Gómez Tornamira in the disc. As for the live performance, we began with the song “Beltà Crudele” which was dedicated to the Duchess of Alba and Berwick.
We then followed with “Canzonetta spagnuola”. Our surprise encore was the vocal duet “Les amants de Seville”, with tenor Miguel Borrallo appearing from the back and joining Emilio and myself in our final trio.
Our friends and colleagues from Cuarteto Vocal Cavatina were on hand to speak briefly of their collaboration in the disc with the vocal chamber ensemble “Un giorno sereno” written by Rossini in honor of the baptism of the son of his protector Alejandro Aguado, Marques de las Marismas.
Gastronomy was not an afterthought in the presentation, given the importance of this topic with all that pertains to the composer Rossini…our friend the food commentator and writer Miguel Almódovar helped us with the menu, and with the help of former chef of the Plaza Hotel and present of the restaurant Sal de Hielo Juan Miguel López Castañier , our guests could linger over the event at “La Quinta” over tapas and wine, before transferring to the restaurant across the street to say our final goodbyes:
The entire happenings of the evening can be viewed via this link on youtube: