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Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, October 2009

The indefatigable Jordi Masó continues his exploration of the piano works of Turina in this, the fifth volume of his series. The pianist has made an important contribution to chamber works by the composer for Naxos; his ensemble expertise in the violin works was especially fine and he knows, from the inside, how the late impressionist stresses that course through the music are best to be developed and suggestively realised. In the medium of the solo piano works that is more stark, but also more concentrated.

We have in this volume both sets of Contes d’Espagne. The first was written in 1918 and its geographical lexicon of Andalucían sunshine is as potent as ever. Devout flourishes vie with impressionist tinged, Debussian paragraph points, and hints of Granados propel the luxuriant rhythmic and melodic charge. The harmonic implications are heady and verdant. Song is seldom far from the surface, not least in Miramar (Series I) and amidst the burnished Iberian landscape hints perhaps of Rachmaninoff are evident too in the chording—try Dans les jardins de Murcia. If you want dramatic colour, colloquial strength, easeful lyricism, melodic richness and a sense of place, look no further. I can’t decide which set I prefer. The second includes some festive dynamism, as well as limpid song, both affecting and reflective. True, the second set of 1928 is less obviously artful than the earlier one, but it does include some wonderful things. The sixth piece is the one most reminiscent of the first set in its texture but the fact that they are so distinguishable surely only adds to the appeal.

Souvenirs de l’Ancienne Espagne is another dance patterned charmer, rich in Habanera and vigorous, but taking in saturnine material and chiselled bass chording. Silhouettes is a suite from 1931. It is typical Turina in its free spirited and unpretentious vitality, and its dramatic and vivacious masculinity exerts an undeniable spell. 
Turina’s alluring sun bathed piano writing meets its match in this devoted exponent, and the attractive recorded sound is another strong plus.



Alan Becker
American Record Guide, July 2009

The music on this volume has the two series of Contes d’Espagne or Spanish Tales, the Souvenirs de L’Ancienne Espagne, and the five brief Silhouettes. The sights and sounds of Spain are the major theme, and noted characters such as Carmen and Don Juan make appearances as well, though not by direct musical quote.

It would be foolish to pretend that these are anything but charming miniatures. Enjoyment is guaranteed, since Turina was a Nationalist with a strong sense of color and melody. As the composer was a skilled pianist, the writing is thoroughly idiomatic and makes mostly modest demands on the player. Since this is not music specifically intended for small ears to listen to, or small hands to manage, the interest is raised considerably…The sound is good and the notes brief and to the point.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2009

Jordi Maso’s traversal of the piano works of Joaquin Turina has reached the fifth volume, and relates his mature years following his return to his native country having worked in Paris as pianist and composer. It was his second attempt to gain recognition in Spain, the first ending in failure and precipitating his departure for France. He was by nature a shy person who was more attuned to the genre of piano music than working on the large-scale canvas of orchestral works. The present disc opens with seven portraits of his native country, delicately shaded with the influence of Debussy ever present, particularly in the playful finale, Jeux des vagues. Ten years later, in 1928, he returned to the theme with a second set, this time focused on his birthplace in Andalusia with its Moorish influences. In the same year the Souvenirs de l’Ancienne Espagne looks back to ancient literary characters in Spain, and in 1931 captured five of the most Spanish landmarks in Silhouettes. The disc as a whole offers delightful and lightweight cameos that brings instant pleasure, and Spanish music should think itself exceedingly fortunate to have the pianist, Jordi Maso, as its champion. Not only is he technically superb, but captures the idiom to perfection. Just try the ever changing moods and rhythms of track three—a picture of Valencia—to sample consummate artistry. Top of the range recording. Don’t miss it.






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3:56:21 PM, 3 September 2014
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