Tomas Breton's La Dolores from 1895–in which all the male characters love the heroine, Dolores, who works in an inn–is an opera espagnola: a full-blown opera, not a zarzuela, and its plot, characters, mood, and music could belong to no other country but Spain. Breton's musical idiom is late romantic, and he's a fine composer. The opera's acts build with good intensity, and throughout he keeps the local flavor alive with dances and rhythms that are peculiarly Spanish.
This sparkling suite for violin and piano came into being when the composer had to adapt his incidental score for a production of Shakespeare's play to the impending absence of the chamber orchestral. The result is a brilliant piece for violin and piano, which the composer quickly released in a four-movement version. There are other recordings of the chamber orchestra suite in five-movements that duplicate only three of the movements of this version. Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist André Previn are ideal partners in this brilliant performance. The four movements allow Shaham to show four sides of his violinist's personality: He skips and plays in carefree fashion in the opening movement, indulges in the grotesquery and parody of the second, gets to play the romantic in the garden scene of the third movement, and dazzles with virtuosity in the final hornpipe. Previn's part is more than mere accompaniment; the piano often has a large part of the mood of the music and his contribution is, to use a word already employed here, ideal.