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Albéniz Iberia & Granados Goyescas

Artur Pizarro, piano

Linn Records CKD 355 [146 mins - Recorded at Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH, Leipzig, Germany from 2-6 September 2009]

Artur Pizarro plays a Blüthner concert grand piano (serial number 151893, born on September 1 2009), so we are told in a throw-away note with this important release: see recording-albeniz-iberia-and-granados-goyescas.

See also: Sad news of the death at 86 of the unique Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha – unique because she virtually owned a small chunk of the piano repertoire: the music of Albeniz and Granados - - I’m left thinking about this business of stamping your personality on music so unforgettably that other interpretations are left in the shade… Telegraph September 2009

As a boy, I was first captivated by Albéniz through Rubinstein's '78 shellac disc ("an ebullient Navarra and a vivacious, clean-cut Sevilla" - Gramophone) and later treasured Alicia de Larrocha in one of the BBC's very first digital transmissions from the Royal Festival Hall...

I have misplaced my score of Iberia, but am helped by Artur Pizarro's 8 pages of his travels through the Spain of Albéniz & Granados. He rehearses his identification with the piano since his first public performance at 3 and debut on Portuguese TV at 4 ! He studied and was influenced by great teachers back to the world that Granados and Albeniz were part of, studying in Portugal and later in Paris with legendary names, becoming familiar with all the great recordings of this music. He describes the exceptional difficulties of Iberia, some pieces of which the composer couldn't play, and countless hours deciphering the complications and confusions of the score before finally achieving "the gargantuan task of training the notes into the fingers". His candour makes you trust him.

De Larrocha insisted to Artur Pizarro "You must not imitate me!". So let me say simply that this double CD for Linn of these perennial favourites is quite wonderful and makes for gripping, sensuous listening from first to last; let's leave comparative reviewing to the piano specialists.

Pizarro devoted 5 days to the recording in a 'post-natal' studio within the Bluthner factory in Leipzig, and the whole team deserves unreserved praise.

It is a landmark in recorded history and an essential addition to everyone's library of Spanish piano music.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Pizarro in Ravel, Debussy/Ravel piano-4hands and Pizarro's Chopin Favourites recorded on a Bluthner piano

We have enjoyed Arturo Pizzaro's playing since first hearing and meeting him at Blackheath's PianoWorks September '98 (the first event of its kind) and at its sequel the following year- q.v. http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/pianoworks99.html


Photograph Sven Arnstein