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8 Reviews
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant Spanish Music, 21 Dec 2004
By 
S. Haffner "Stefan" (Alcester, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
I listen to this album probably more than any other. I haven't heard these two seminal spanish nationalistic piano works played by anyone else, so i can't comment too much on the actual playing, but the music is fantastic.
Both works are very difficult to play as they combine out and out virtuosity with many other difficult musical skills such as cross rythms and the bringing out of inner parts. Alicia de la rocha does this wonderfully well.
I think these works are underplayed in concerts, especially the granados, the opening piece in the set is infused with so many powerful melodies and is a joy to listen to, its a wonder more people don't play it.
Overall i would highly recommend this cd.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive performances by a specialist in the repertoire, 4 Mar 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
These two discs repackage material previously available onto an attractive two disc set. The recordings were originally made in 1972 (Albeniz)and 1975-6 (Granados) but both provide excellent piano sound which is well matched. The performances themselves have never been bettered, not even by Larrocha herself when she remade Goyescas for RCA. This Decca recording has retained its primacy.

(*I am indebted to Raymond Clarke for a complete recorded history of the various recordings that Larrocha made of these pieces by Albeniz and Granados and included as a postscript to this review. He makes it clear that the present coupling is derived from the middle sets of both composers' works. This does not change the strong recommendation for this current set which remains an attractive compilation although I too, now find the earlier set to be preferable and therefore concur with Raymond Clarke's viewpoint*).

All the pieces are mini tone poems for piano and are evocative of Spanish subjects. This is a subject that is close to Larrocha's heart and her personal experiences. The music is accepted as essential to any understanding of Spanish music and, by extension, Spanish culture. It is hard to imagine finer performances of the repertoire being recorded and, as the quality of the recording is so good, it is therefore hard to imagine serious competition to these discs occurring for quite along time.

I would suggest therefore that this is one of those very rare things - definitive performances without significant alternatives to consider. As a consequence I would suggest that these discs should be given serious consideration by anyone interested in the program.

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Postscript supplied by Raymond Clarke (UK review comment)

Larrocha recorded the Albéniz cycle in its entirety on three occasions:
[1] Spanish EMI (first published 1962, but no date of recording given), once available as a 2LP Erato set;
[2] Decca, 1972;
[3] Decca, 1986.
She also recorded the Goyescas cycle in its entirety thrice:
[1] Spanish EMI (first published 1963, but no date of recording given);
[2] Decca, 1975-76;
[3] RCA, 1989-90.
What is included in this set are the 'middle' versions: her 1972 version of the Albéniz and her 1975-76 version of the Granados.
I have all six recordings in my collection, and would not want to part with any of them. However, if I was only allowed to retain one, without any hesitation I would unquestionably choose her earliest EMI recordings (Albéniz: Iberia,...
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*Since receiving this comment I have bought the EMI remastered set as suggested and can confirm that I agree with the assessment by Raymond Clarke that this earlier version has the edge.
My review of the EMI set can also be viewed.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious Collectors, besides myself, who wait for your Synopsis and Opinion before spending their hard-earned money on New Releases...
Keep up the Good Work!
Thank you (UK review)

............................................
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A DELIGHT, 9 Mar 2011
By 
Dr. S. J. Wyatt (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
I've had this double cd in my collection for a number of years. I play it a lot. The music is superb and atmospheric and the playing outstanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alicia IS the best!, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
What can one say about, except to say that Alicia IS the quintessential Albeniz and Granados - nobody plays this music better in my opinion. It's in her soul. The clarity and rhythm of her playing is just wonderful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Albeniz - Iberia & Navarra / Granados - Goyescas, 7 May 2013
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
These compositions are so important regarding the repertoire of piano music for this national period in Spain's music history. They are not easy to interpret, so having the world's expert playing them is a great help. Larrocha's demise in 2009 is a tragic loss. We are SO lucky to have these recordings.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still a wonderful bargain, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
Alicia de la Rocha is arguably the pianist par excellence of the music of Albeniz and Granados. She gets right inside its warmth and emotional immediacy, and deftly shows off the unpredictability of the harmonic twists and turns of both composers. The recording quality stands up well against more modern issues. A wonderful bargain.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanish classic, 7 Jan 2013
By 
B. Gillie (York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
A bargain edition of a wonderful version of both these Spanish keyboard classics. Good sound and generous length, highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alicia de Larrocha plays Albeniz's 'Iberia', 20 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas (Audio CD)
Spanish piano music for grown-ups (try playing it!!), performed delightfully here by the late Queen of Spanish pianists. CD set also includes 'Navarra' and Granados's 'Goyescas' with the famous 'Lady and the Nightingale'. Marvellous, even if it's an old recording.
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Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas
Albéniz: Iberia / Granados: Goyescas by Isaac Albéniz (Audio CD - 1996)
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