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Albeniz's "Iberia" suite


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Initial post: 2 Jun 2012 15:14:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 15:23:12 BDT
Edgar Self says:
In the June "Gramophone", Bryce Morrison manages not to embarrass himself further in discussing many piano versions of "Iberia". He settles on De Larrocha, one of her unassailable three takes, but has high praise for Martin Jones and my favourite, Esteban Sanchez on Ensayo and now Brilliant, for his "raw, savage" playing. The first time I heard Sanchez, I played his "Evocacion" eight times before moving on. Barenboim likes Sanchez's "Iberia" better than his ow, and Cortot called Sanchez a genius..

Morrison writes that he once asked Horowitz if he played it. "I'm a Russian, not a Spanish gypsy" was the reply. He finds Marc-Andre Hamelin glib, undone by his own virtuosity.

Kapell, Iturbi, Rubinstein, and Cortot recorded individual pieces, but not the entire set. The grandest piece that was to have been in it, "Navarra", Albeniz withdrew as too "popular" and never quite finished. Rubinstein is incomparable in it, but plays his own "edition" ini all three of his recordings. I wish I could have seen him play it.

Morrison omits to mention an Guillermo Gonzalez's excellent set on Naxos, worth buying for the booklet notes; or BIS's onrunn-ing complete Albeniz piano music by Miguel Baselga, a blond blue-eyed Spaniard losing his hair. He atones for this by naming a young Spaniard I don't know and must look up.

Collectors other than pianoholics sometimes prefer Arbos's orchestrations. The piano originals are very dense, almost unnecessarily difficult, some notatedon three staves. Albeniz once came near to destroying them "because I saw that what I had written could not be played." Fortunately his friends dissuaded him.

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 15:37:20 BDT
MacDoom says:
Lovely, evocative music. Whether played on piano or guitar, the Spanish classical repertoire of Albeniz and Granados is something you can wake me up for at any time during the night. Or even day. I'll be grumpy all right. but not for long.

As for Iberia, De Larrocha is the one that stopped me looking for better (the later Decca recording, with wonderful piano sound to match ADL's super-sensitive playing. Raw and savage would be the polar opposite, and it could be an interesting take I'd need to get to know. What year's the recording?

Posted on 2 Jun 2012 16:27:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jun 2012 16:31:15 BDT
Piso: I have complete Iberias from De Larrocha and Hamelin and I think we have discussed them before. As far as Hamelin is concerned I suppose it was only a matter of time before the hacks got fed up with praising his virtuosity and started calling him glib, superficial etc.

Bryce Morrison has been worked over before after his role in the Hatto-gate scandal though I see that he was defended by someone who described him as 'one of the sweetest old ladies reviewing piano music'.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2012 17:28:53 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Wouter MacDoom -- Esteban Sanchez recorded "Iberia" for Ensayo in 1969, and is thus newer than one or two of De Larrocha's. The transcriptions for single or multiple guitars work very well, especially in "Evocacion" and other less congested pieces. Even the orchestras are all but overwhelmed by some. Brilliant's box lhas the contents of all four Ensayo CDs of Albeniz piano music by Sanchez, who also recorded Falla, Faure, Barrios, Beethoven bagatelles and fourth concerto. (Advt.)
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Participants:  3
Total posts:  4
Initial post:  2 Jun 2012
Latest post:  2 Jun 2012

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