David's Review Corner
, September 2011
Jordi Masó’s series of Turina’s piano music, which here reaches the seventh volume, is one of Naxos’s most satisfying on-going cycles. Things were looking bleak as the young composer was getting nowhere in his native Spain. So he made the brave decision to return to student days, but this time in Paris. It was a wise move as there he established such a major career, both as composer and pianist, that at the age of thirty-one he returned home to be welcomed as the leading Spanish composer of his era. Always a shy man, he preferred writing for the piano rather than appearing on the concert stage, and it was in this field he spent his time until illness cut short his creativity. The present disc takes us on picturesque journeys, both real and imagined, opening with a Holiday Album that recalls a trip to Morocco via Southern Spain and Gibraltar; Sea Voyage is much in the style of Debussy’s water music; Evocations remembers holidays in Catalonia, while Mallorca is seen before today’s hoards of tourists arrived on the island. Finally a tour of the Basque region that proved so rewarding to him. Wonderfully descriptive, his use of colours owe much to the French Impressionists, but none the worse for that. Above all it is the pure joy Masó brings to the music that makes you wish each picture was much longer. The clarity of his fingers, even in those fast running passages, is superb, matters of technique simply taken for granted. As always the sound is superb, and if you are just coming to this series, it will make an ideal and happy entry point.