There's nothing better than a dose of Iberian sunshine to warm a cold January day. And Garrick Ohlsson's new recording of Granados piano works on Hyperion is guaranteed to pep up your Vitamin D. A florid celebration of the paintings and period of Francesco de Goya, Granados's Goyescas are given joyful performances.
Written over the course of three years, Goyescas is a series of impressionistic responses to Goya's paintings (which Granados had first seen in Madrid in 1896). Imbued with patriotic nostalgia, Ohlsson delivers the terpsichorean flourishes with rhythmic fluidity. And there's muscularity too, especially in the opening of the second book of pieces. Collectively the performance offers dazzling chiaroscuro between burning sun and black shadow.
The highly decorated lines - each finding a voice within often complex textures - are given swagger through spry staccato passages and Ohlsson's keen sense of improvisatory tumble. If occasionally the performance lacks the whispered frisson of Alicia de Laroccha's benchmark recording, texturally this remains a formidable disc and Ohlsson does Goya and Granados's colours proud.
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