Isaac Albeniz: Piano Works

Isaac Albeniz: Piano Works

Martin Jones

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Album review

“What's striking about the piano music of Isaac Albéniz, especially when it's heard in large bunches like this, is how varied his solutions to the problem of fusing Spanish music with external influences were. Some pieces, like the Estudio Impromptu, Op. 56, do not begin in a "Spanish" way at all, but that work plunges the listener decisively into the world of flamenco in its second strain. This big group of Albéniz pieces were recorded by pianist Martin Jones in 1995 and 2000 and were collected in 2020 and reissued in a triple-album set. As such, they make up a somewhat random collection, with large works (Iberia, the Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 82, and the Suite Española, Op. 47) mixed in with smaller and in some cases obscure-but-worthwhile works, but the randomness gets the listener away from the greatest-hits frame of mind and into the variety of Albéniz's achievement. Jones is a fine specialist in Spanish music, not one who emphasizes the Spanish fireworks in these pieces, but always clean and precise in the virtuoso passages and exploring the subtleties of the music. A negative in the presentation is that Albéniz, and some of the Spanish titles, are missing their accent marks; this would be annoying if it were generally true, but what's worse is that some instances have the mark while others don't. This has the feel of a thrown-together reissue, but in this case, it works.”

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Record label



    5 June 2020