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Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860 - 1909)
Piano Music Volume 4

Iberia, Cuarto Cuaderno, B 47, T 105 (1908) [22.43]
6 Pequeños valses, Op 25, B 3, T 47 (1884) [18.40]
Sonata #3, Op 68, B 14, T 69 (1886) [13.36]
Suite ancienne #1, Op 54, B 8, T 62 (1886) [8.09]
Serenata árabe, B 5, T 60 (1886) [6.37]
Miguel Baselga (piano)
Steinway D grand piano
Piano technician, Teodoro Ortiz Cabeza (Sala Rono)
Recorded at the Auditorio y palacio de congresos, Zaragosa, Spain, March 2002
Notes in English, Deutsch, and French. Color photo of the artist.
BIS CD-1243 [71.03]

Note: volumes 1-3 are on BIS CD-923, 1043 and 1143. Vol5 BIS CD 1443

Comparison recordings:

Alicia de Larrocha, piano Decca 448 191-2
Artur Rubinstein, piano (1 piece in "Rubinstein Collection Vo. 18") RCA/BMG CD

Who is this upstart who would dare to play this music and be compared with the great Alicia de Larrocha? This is not merely great pianism, this is ravishingly beautiful pianism conforming at the same time to the most rigorous standards of musicianship and responsibility to the text. These recordings are the result of the latest musicological research and represent the most accurate readings of the composer’s intentions ever accomplished.

Iberia consisted of separate pieces published in groups over many years. There is no evidence that Albeniz ever envisioned an integral performance, so here the four books are placed one each at the beginnings of four disks, which are then filled out with other less frequently played pieces. One of the first things one learns is that Albéniz’s work was amazingly consistent, and there is no abruptly noticeable decline in quality as we move from Iberia into the other music.

Rubinstein’s recordings of Spanish music reflect a showman’s skill at effective drama. De Larrocha’s performances have more reflective insight into the content of the music and remain an authoritative and scholarly standard. Her earlier recordings are showing their age in their dated sound quality, but her newer digital recordings for BMG show that her mind, her heart, and her fingers are still everything they ever were. But Baselga loves this music and his ravishingly sensual, masculine style sweeps away all objections.

Paul Shoemaker

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