Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alicia de Larrocha Plays Música Española (II)

Two names connected with Spanish nationalistic piano of a marked Romantic tendency stand out : Granados and Albéniz. Both were born in Catalonia, both were concert pianists and, as composers, both drew on themes from the different Spanish regions. However, this parallelism disappears upon a more profund study of their works. lndeed, both composers were completely different : Granados inherited, as a pianist and a composer, the elegant Romanticism of the bourgeois Salon, while the young Albéniz was the epitome of a venturous, virtuosic, improvisatorial Bohemian. At the end of their lifes both gave the best of themselves, but in Granados refinement predominated while in Albéniz we find the great musical genius. Neither was lacking in the predominant feature of the other, but, it is evident that their music exhibits different aesthetics.
The first Suite española and the Cantos de España collection group together pieces from Albéniz's same compositional period : what we could call his first maturity, although he was about 25 at the time. These are years posterior to his acquaintance with Pedrell in Barcelona, an encounter inspiring Albéniz to a deeper study of Spanish folk music. These pieces were composed at different times and with no intention of shaping them into more formal unities, which fully justifies their being interpreted separately as is frequently done. On the one hand, the editions of the Suite and the Cantos use the same pieces : the "Asturias" or "Leyenda" from the Suite española is the same work as "Preludio" in Cantos de España, the latter being the better title as its Andalusian flavour and guitar-like intentions are more than evident, and it bears no similatiry to anything that could be thought of as Asturian ; also the "Seguidillas" which brilliantly close the Cantos de España cycle coincide with the piece called "Castilla" (a reference to the Manchegan seguidillas) included in the Suite ; finally, in both collections there is a mention of Cuba (then a Spanish possession) which Albéniz visited — as a runaway and a stowaway — during his travels to Latin America in 1872. "Bajo las palmeras" and "Cuba" (Capricho) have different melodies but begin with the same bars which evoke a typical balance of the popular aires which "went to Latin America and came back", based on the Andalusian tanguillo and adapted and coloured in Hispanic America. We should also add that "Cadiz" (Canción) from the Suite is the same music that at times is presented as Serenata española or Célebre Serenata española.
The habitual form of these pieces is ternary in structure, with a series of Dance-Verse-Dance, only significantly entended in the case of "Córdoba", a piece of original exposition in two parts and of a quality that well justifies a popularity comparable to that enjoyed by the famous "Granada", "Sevilla" or the inappropiately called "Asturiana". The Suite also contains "Cataluña", a corranda which represents one of the very few allusions of Albeniz to his birthplace.
José Luis Garcia del Busto, from the booklet (translation Barbara McShane)

Alicia de Larrocha
Música Española (II)


Cd. 1

Enrique Granados

12 Danzas españolas
Cuaderno I
1 N° 1. Dedicada a Amparo Gal ("Minueto")  2:53
2 N° 2 dedicada a Julián Martí ("Oriental")  4:56
3 N° 3 dedicada a Joaquín Vancells  3:59
Cuaderno II
4 N° 4 dedicada a T. Tasso ("Villanesca")  5:50
5 N° 5 dedicada a Alfredo G. Faria ("Andaluza")  4:18
6 N° 6 dedicada a D. Murillo ("Rondalla aragonesa")  3:44
Cuaderno III
7 N° 7 dedicada a Cesar Cui ("Valenciana")  4:47
8 N° 8 en Do mayor ("Asturiana")  3:38
9 N° 9 Si bemol mayor ("Mazurca")  5:16
Cuaderno IV
10 N° 10 dedicada a la Infanta Isabel ("Danza triste")  4:26
11 N° 11 en Sol menor ("Zambra")  5:55
12 N° 12 en La menor ("Arabesca")  5:40

13 El Pelele  4:32
14 Allegro de concierto  8:21


Cd. 2

Isaac Albéniz

Suite española
1 N° 1. Granada (Serenata) 5:06
2 N° 2. Cataluña (Corranda)  2:35
3 N° 3. Sevilla (Sevillanas)  4:36
4 N° 4. Cádiz (Canción)  4:31
5 N° 5. Asturias (Leyenda)  5:59
6 N° 6. Aragón (Fantasia)  4:23
7 N° 7. Cuba (Capricho)  5:22
8 N° 8. Castilla (Seguidillas)  2:55

De Cantos de España
9 N° 2. Oriental  3:29
10 N° 3. Bajo la palmeras  3:49
11 N° 4. Córdoba  6:05


Alicia de Larrocha - p

Recorded in 1973 [Cd. 1, # 13 & Cd. 2, # 9-11] ; 1982 [Cd. 1, # 1-12] ; 1985 [Cd. 1, # 14] ; & 1987 [# Cd. 2, # 1-8]


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Grrrrreat! Thanks so much MM! Alicia, and Granados, doesn't get better!

Luis Lorenzo said...

No ha habido ninguna pianista como Alicia de Larrocha que sepa interpretar con esa gran sensibilidad a Granados.
Gracias Mel

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Marvellous Alicia, thanks Mel

rebf942 said...

Many thanks for this second volume.

Olde Edo said...

Thanks for this and the earlier Larrocha offerings. Her playing has power and directness and her rhythm sense is wonderful.