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Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Danzas Españolas Op.37 (1892-1900): Villanesca; Andalusa; Mazurca; Oriental; Minuetto; Valenciana; Zambra; Zarabanda; Arabesca; Asturiana; Danza triste; Rondalla Aragonesa
Anders Miolin (ten-stringed guitar)
Recorded May 2000 at Länna Church, Sweden
BIS-CD-1116 [73.05]

The ten-stringed guitar was not invented by the great twentieth century player NarcisoYepes, but redesigned by him to extend the possibilities of the conventional six-stringed instrument now known as the classical guitar. Its greater resonance and wider compass a creates new harmonic possibilities, though it also presents the player with tricky technical problems. By the addition of four strings its tuning resembles that of a lute more closely than a six-string guitar, and the larger instrument has been particularly successful in guitar transcriptions of baroque lute music, especially that of J.S. Bach.

The twelve Spanish Dances by Granados, originally written for piano, are ‘guitaristic’ in character, and sound so effective on the guitar that some of them have become part of its standard repertoire. On this disc the delicate romanticism of these short characteristic pieces is well realised but - perhaps in an effort more fully to exploit the capabilities of the ten-stringed guitar - Miolin has chosen a preponderance of open low positions and slow tempi. These give many of the dances a somewhat ponderous character that saps their vitality. Add to this widely-spreading arpeggios take them even further from the essentially melodic nature of the salon miniature. One misses the virile rhythms inherent in such dances as Andaluza and Rondalla Aragonesa. All are by definition dances, and I fear that their choreographic qualities are sometimes missing in this performance.

I did not unconditionally recommend a recently reissued 1990 recording of the dances played on two guitars by Angel and Celedonio Romero (Telarc CD-80216 ) for different reasons, but find their rather cold interpretation preferable to this self-indulgent one..

Roy Brewer

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