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Fanfare, July 2005

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Patrick C Waller
MusicWeb International, January 2005

"This disc is part of the valuable “Spanish Classics” series from Naxos. So far this has tended to explore lesser-known composers such as Arambarri, Guridi and Serra (each of whom has one highly recommendable disc) in preference to Albéniz, Falla and Granados (just one disc between them). There is, however, quite an extensive collection of Rodrigo’s orchestral music and this is a third outing for Turina. It nicely complements previous discs of his orchestral music (8.555955) and piano trios (8.555870) and is billed as the first of a complete series of his piano music.

All the works on this disc are dances and draw deeply from the musical tradition of the composer’s homeland. It opens with the original piano version of the Danzas fantásticas which is in three movements entitled Exaltation, Fantasy and Orgy. This offers a rather cooler landscape than in the orchestral version which is included on 8.555955. In the three Andalusian Dances which follow there are strong echoes of Albéniz, especially in the opening petenera. The first set of five Gypsy Dances (op.55) was a big success when first performed by José Cubiles, a pianist who championed Turina’s works. This led the composer to produce an orchestral version and a second set of five (op.84), in which Falla’s influence can be detected. The two dances on popular Spanish themes were first performed in London. The first is a seguidilla based on local rhythms from Seville where Turina was born. The final work, a suite of five dances from the 19th century, contains several themes which seem familiar, presumably because they have also been used by other Spanish composers.

Turina’s piano music is attractive and inventive but perhaps not quite as imaginative as the works of Albéniz and Granados. Jordi Masó is one of Spain’s leading pianists. His playing is controlled and idiomatic but sometimes lacks the feeling of abandon that Alicia de Larrocha brings to the Spanish piano repertoire. The sound and documentation are good, and this is excellent value. Know and love the Iberia Suite and Goyescas, and hankering for more? This could be the answer."

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