Albéniz: Piano Music

Albéniz: Piano Music

by Guillermo González
     
 

Isaac Albéniz's piano music is historically indispensable to the rite of passage made by Spanish music into the twentieth century from the nineteenth and in recapturing some of the native verve of Spanish traditional music that mysteriously disappeared from Spain's concert music earlier in that century. Naxos' Albéniz: Piano Music 2 is the second volume in whatSee more details below

Overview

Isaac Albéniz's piano music is historically indispensable to the rite of passage made by Spanish music into the twentieth century from the nineteenth and in recapturing some of the native verve of Spanish traditional music that mysteriously disappeared from Spain's concert music earlier in that century. Naxos' Albéniz: Piano Music 2 is the second volume in what promises to be a complete survey of the surviving piano works of the composer as performed by pianist Guillermo González; another by Miguel Baselga for BIS only runs to five volumes and there is question if it is truly complete. Arriving at such a milestone for Albéniz in terms of piano music would be difficult, as Albéniz was enormously prolific, especially early on, and many of his efforts in the genre have been lost, even some published pieces. The conventional wisdom regarding Albéniz's piano music is that after his arrival in Paris in 1894, and his concurrent exposure to the work of Claude Debussy, Albéniz becomes much more experimental in style, adopting a bolder, richer harmonic palette that doesn't smack quite as much of the Victorian salon as his earlier music. This has led, in part, to the dominance of the piano suite "Ibéria" over all his other efforts, save the early "Tango in D," a piece of the 1880s immensely popular in its own day that has managed to survive throughout the intervening decades. Like all received wisdom, there is a grain of truth to the conventional view; "Recuerdos de viaje" (1886-1887), the suite that opens this volume, at times drifts into passages of the kind so well loved by silent movie pianists that by now they resonate as clichés. However, the pieces "En la Alhambra" and "Puerta de tierra (Bolero)" from the same set hardly seem dated at all and stand as excellent examples of traditional Spanish dance movements as expressed in a solid, romantically conceived style. On the other hand, as ravishing as the Prelude is from the set "Espagne" (Souvenirs, 1896-1897), the corresponding "Asturias" is a halting, uncertain effort that demonstrates Albéniz was struggling to some extent in terms of finding a middle ground between impressionism and his natural voice. That and the unabashedly Wagnerian approach of his operas that date from these same years easily justify access to Albéniz's music in its entirety and ultimately defeats the received wisdom that most of it isn't worth reviving. González's approach is looser and more idiomatic in his handling of this music than Baselga, whose interpretations for BIS are more taut and absolute in regard to transmitting the message of the score, but also a bit more stiff. However, sometimes González's execution of trills and other ornamental stuff is a little on the slippery side -- one is grateful, however, for his warmth and generosity of atmosphere. So, in a sense, neither the Naxos or the BIS editions represent an absolute ideal, but it's good to have both of them out there; Naxos' Albéniz: Piano Music 2 is a good listen, but you might want to listen to Volume 1 -- a two-disc set containing the all-important "Ibéria" and the two "Suite españolas" -- before deciding to proceed.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/25/2007
Label:
Naxos Spanish
UPC:
0747313055371
catalogNumber:
8570553
Rank:
320420

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Recuerdos de viaje, pieces (7) for piano, Op. 71, B. 18  - Isaac Albéniz  - Guillermo González  - Marite Martín Vivaldi
  2. España (Souvenirs), pieces (2) for piano, B. 45  - Isaac Albéniz  - Guillermo González  - Marite Martín Vivaldi
  3. Azulejos (Tiles/Mosaics), for piano, B. 50 (incomplete; only 1 piece, finished by Granados)  - Isaac Albéniz  - Guillermo González  - Marite Martín Vivaldi
  4. The Alhambra, suite for piano, B. 46 (incomplete, only "La Vega" finished)  - Isaac Albéniz  - Guillermo González  - Marite Martín Vivaldi
  5. Navarra, for piano in A flat major, B. 49 (completed by Sévérac)  - Isaac Albéniz  - Guillermo González  - Marite Martín Vivaldi

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