- Iberia Suite, for piano, B. 47
- La Vega, Fantaisie espagnole for piano, B. 46 (for the incomplete suite, "Alhambra"): La vega
- Yvonne en visite!, pieces (2) for piano, B. 48
- España (Souvenirs), pieces (2) for piano, B. 45
- Navarra, for piano in A flat major, B. 49 (completed by Sévérac)
One of the most impressive pianists active today and a tireless explorer of under-performed repertoire, Marc-André Hamelin sets his sights here on Albéniz's Iberia, the composer's masterful evocation of the colors and rhythms of Spain. The four-part set of solo piano miniatures, written over several years at the end of Albéniz's life, may be more familiar than much of Hamelin's repertoire -- Alicia DeLarrocha, for one, has performed and recorded it numerous times to great acclaim -- but Hamelin's recording is as stunningly refined and fluent as anything he has done. Surprisingly, perhaps, for a pianist with such steely fingers, Hamelin steers clear of Lisztian virtuosity in favor of Chopin-esque clarity and poise, and the result is a performance of jewel-like beauty that is as intoxicating and sunlit as the land it describes. Hamelin fills out his two-disc set with other late works of Albéniz: La Vega, inspired by the countryside around Granada; the charming Yvonne en visite!, a whimsical imitation of a nervous, bumbling pianist; the impressionistic España: Souvenirs; and finally Navarra, which remained uncompleted at Albéniz's death and is heard here with an extended conclusion by William Bolcolm. But Iberia is the main draw, and Hamelin's exceptional performance is simply not to be missed.