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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Suray Surita
Suray Surita Monophonic
  (Moisés Vivanco - 3:15)
Recorded in 1952

Review and Analysis of Suray Surita by Nicholas E. Limansky
From Yma Sumac - The Art Behind the Legend
used with permission - all rights reserved, © Nicholas E. Limansky
Read more on the Legacy of the Diva Web site!
"To win the love of his Princess, an Incan general sets out to win Chile for her.  He is killed and the Chileans send his head to the Princess, who in despair, dies of a broken heart." (Program notes from concert in Austin Texas, 11/23/54)

Compared with the complexities of "Kuyaway," this song is like a breath of fresh air.  Whereas "Kuyaway" is earthy, even vulgar, "Suray Surita" is pure and elegant.  Public performances were quite different from what is heard here since it was placed in the set with only Moisés' guitar accompaniment.  Even with orchestral accompaniment, though, the structure of the song is kept simple by the use of a tasteful, restrained arrangement.

Despite the grisly notes supplied to audiences, this is a beautiful composition of great sadness and yearning.  The orchestration was obviously carefully prepared so as not to detract from the inherent beauty of the melodic line and Yma's singing.  Simple chords of sustained strings and soft winds provide a warm, noble background while an oboe occasionally weaves a plaintive counterpoint, giving this piece of unrequited love an appropriately stark, lonely atmosphere.

It opens with a short, chant-like figure sung by Yma in the middle voice which is followed by the main theme which sits around the upper passagio of F.  Yma uses a trembling tonal quality and quivering vibrato for almost the entire song, achieving the hushed intimate feeling that she is singing to herself.  There is a sense of desolation in this simple melody and Yma interprets it accordingly with intense, breathy, almost sobbing cadences and shadings.  Without a doubt, the loveliest phrase in the song can be found near the conclusion of the first section where Yma rises to an uncommonly beautiful, sustained high C rich in overtones.

The B section has a brief change of mood as Yma swoops to a series of staccati high Ds that are surprisingly intense (due to her clever use of whip-like cut-offs as expressions of drama).  The final measures of the song include a forceful rise to a top B flat of great focus and power, left by a descending swoop (a successful dramatic effect) and the song ends as Yma sustains a G at the top of the staff, gradually fading away.  In his article for Records and Recording, Maurice Leonard likened Yma's high B flat with that of Maggie Teyte, the soprano famous for her Melisande in Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande.

"Suray Surita" remains Yma's ultimate lyrical statement.  Typically inconsistent, during live concerts - at least in Russia, "Suray Surita" had metamorphosed into an orchestral number called "Serenata India".  Predominately scored for strings it is almost as lovely as the original.  On the Russina tour the piece took about 2:05 to perform and obviously served as an interlude of some sort.

Suray Surita  is included on the following releases
catalog no: AMR536
Another collection featuring tracks from Yma Sumac's various Capitol Records releases of the '50s. This release is available only as a download. 2010 United Kingdom
catalog no: ASIN: B002B2LZWC
Another collection of download only tracks that includes several of Yma Sumac's early South American recordings along with her later cuts from Capitol Records. Interestingly, the makers of this release chose to use English translations for some of the songs but the track listing shown here has been . . . 2008 United Kingdom
catalog no: SSL-4313 (SP 651)
U.S. military transcription LP (16" vinyl format) has six Yma Sumac tracks on one side, and tracks by Walter Gross on the piano on the other. This recording was made by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and released for airplay by the Armed Forces Radio Service. 1952 United States
catalog no: C 80213
Single from Germany on Telefunken label 1952 Germany
catalog no: DDN-299
Canadian release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Except for tiny details, most Canadian pressings are nearly identical to the U.S. pressings.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 Canada
catalog no: DDN-299
Original release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, Optional Centers, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Rather unusual Boxed Set EP with two disks, each having four tracks.  The Double EP was generally in a gatefold sleeve rather than a box so this release was apparently done defore the sleeves were made. 1952 United States
catalog no: FAP 2-299
Second album, later pressing, volume two of two volume set 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Second album, Gatefold double EP, later pressing 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from Germany with Les baxter credits 1952 Germany
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from New Zealand.  Mfg. by His Master's Voice (N.Z.) Ltd. 1952 New Zealand
catalog no: L-299
Early LP pressing of second album with Les Baxter credits on disk label 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Later LP pressing of second album without Les Baxter credits on disk label. For each new format released, Les Baxter's credits appeared, then were removed for the next pressings. Those with his name on the label (it does not appear on the sleeve on any pressing) can be considered first or early rele . . . 1952 United States
catalog no: LC 6609
U.K reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Features unusual painted cover art in the same style as the original photograph.  Because of the detail, very likely it was a painted over copy of the original photo and then reprinted onto the cover.  Painted cover art seems . . . 1953 United Kingdom
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, first 12 inch LP pressing 1955 United States
catalog no: SM-299
Probably a '60s or '70s reissue of Yma Sumac's second album recorded in 1952.  Because of the extra space this format had, additional tracks from the same recording session were added.  The original 78 rpm set had only eight tracks. 1965 United States
catalog no: ENC 10489
Reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, released originally as a 78 rpm set recorded in 1952, this is a later 12" LP pressing.  Due to the extended play time on this format, additional tracks from the same session were used to fill it. 1965 Australia
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, later 12 inch LP pressing 1972 United States
catalog no: UV099
This Italian release was made on "audiophile" 180 gram vinyl. 2004 Italy
Vinyl releases seem to be the trend now as this recent double LP indicates. This time it is a reissue from a compilation CD rather than being a reissue of an original vinyl disk. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: BYD77004
27 track compilation featuring pre-1955 material along with several 1943 Argentina Session tracks. Good selection of material but the booklet contains many inaccuracies over the usual. For example, her name was spelled as Ymma throughout when that spelling was used only on one obscure release from t . . . 2008 United Kingdom
catalog no: PS39015
A collection featuring tracks drawn primarily from Yma Sumac's Mambo! (1954) and her Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952) albums with several others from various albums and singles. 2007 Germany
catalog no: 2711402146
Unusual Compact Disc collection from Greece, apparently available for only a single day as a promotional by a weekly newspaper. Packaged in a long DVD-type sleeve. 2008 Greece
catalog no: CDP-7-91 250-2
Reissue of second album, first Compact Disc reissue.  These early CD releases had much sharper, clearer cover art than the later Right Stuff reissues. 1989 United States
catalog no: 0777-7-91 250-2-9
Reissue of second album, second CD reissue 1996 United States
catalog no: ASIN: B001P5MG6A
Collection from the United Kingdom features tracks ranging from Yma Sumac earliest material from 1943 to 1954 at the height of her career. Includes tracks from Voice of the Xtabay (1950), Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952), Inca Taqui (1953) and Mambo! (1954) and also included are her two singles from . . . 2009 United Kingdom
catalog no: CD 72 435-21 434-2-9
Compilation 2000 United States
catalog no: Promo
Compilation Promotional edition, Mfg. by Imperial Tape Company 2000 United States
catalog no: CREVO 34 CD
Reissue of compilation with previously-unreleased material. This reissue contains a slightly different track selection than the original 2001 United Kingdom
catalog no: 23351
76 Hits and Rarities from the goddess of Exotica. More details and track for this September 2012 collection coming soon. 2012 United Kingdom
catalog no: GSS 5482
This 3-CD set advertised as being from Holland but package and disk printing indicate it was made in Portugal. Released in March 2008 and contains 47 tracks, this boxed set contains three standard jewel cases all with the same cover art and no booklet or notes. The box cover is shown. 2008 Portugal
catalog no: 118734
Anthologie 1950-1959 Compact Disc set of Yma Sumac's containing all of Yma Sumac's 1950's Capitol Records original release catalog. Probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These tracks are included on legitimate releases of all the original albums. 2013 France
catalog no: BLUE102CD
Double CD collection features remastered tracks from the 1943 Argentina Session along with those from the Capitol Records years. 2005 United Kingdom
Yet another compilation CD with the title of Queen of Exotica making three with that title. This one, which is a 2-CD set, combines four of Yma Sumac's '50s albums. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: B00006IWIC
Two CD set containing the entire Mambo! and Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection CDs, probably as individual CDs in a slipsleeve. 2002 France
catalog no: 4 M-299
Yma Sumac's second album is sung in quasi-classical style.  This is the first cassette reissue.  The original 78 rpm set had eight tracks while 12" LP and later reissues generally had twelve as does this cassette.  The additional tracks were from the same session. 1987 United States
catalog no: 8 M 299
Reissue of second album 1972 United States
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