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Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Piano Music - Volume 5
Contes d’Espagne Series 1 Op.20 (1918) [24:20]
Contes d’Espagne Series 2 Op.47 (1928) [18:50]
Souvenirs de l’Ancienne Espagne Op.48 (1929) [14:39]
Silhouettes Op.70 (1931) [14:57]
Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, October 2007 
NAXOS 8.570370 [73:05] 
Experience Classicsonline

The indefatigable Jordi Masó continues his exploration of the piano works of Turina in this, the fifth volume of his series. The pianist has made an important contribution to chamber works by the composer for Naxos; his ensemble expertise in the violin works was especially fine and he knows, from the inside, how the late impressionist stresses that course through the music are best to be developed and suggestively realised. In the medium of the solo piano works that is more stark, but also more concentrated.

We have in this volume both sets of Contes d’Espagne. The first was written in 1918 and its geographical lexicon of Andalucían sunshine is as potent as ever. Devout flourishes vie with impressionist tinged, Debussian paragraph points, and hints of Granados propel the luxuriant rhythmic and melodic charge. The harmonic implications are heady and verdant. Song is seldom far from the surface, not least in Miramar (Series I) and amidst the burnished Iberian landscape hints perhaps of Rachmaninoff are evident too in the chording – try Dans les jardins de Murcia. If you want dramatic colour, colloquial strength, easeful lyricism, melodic richness and a sense of place, look no further. I can’t decide which set I prefer. The second includes some festive dynamism, as well as limpid song, both affecting and reflective. True, the second set of 1928 is less obviously artful than the earlier one, but it does include some wonderful things. The sixth piece is the one most reminiscent of the first set in its texture but the fact that they are so distinguishable surely only adds to the appeal. 

Souvenirs de l’Ancienne Espagne is another dance patterned charmer, rich in Habanera and vigorous, but taking in saturnine material and chiselled bass chording. Silhouettes is a suite from 1931. It is typical Turina in its free spirited and unpretentious vitality, and its dramatic and vivacious masculinity exerts an undeniable spell. 

Turina’s alluring sun bathed piano writing meets its match in this devoted exponent, and the attractive recorded sound is another strong plus. 

Jonathan Woolf 




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