One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Piano Music Volume 5

Suite Espagnole, Op 47, T 61 (1886) [35.20]
Sonata #4, T 75 (1887) [17.45]
Suite ancienne #2, Op 54, B T 66 (1887) [7.21]
Arbola Azpian (Zorzico), T 84 (1893) [4.40]
Pavana Capricho, T 48 (1882) [3.48]
Miguel Baselga (piano)
Steinway D grand piano. Piano technician, Manuel Laga Sopena.
Recorded at the Auditorio y palacio de congresos, Zaragosa, Spain, April 2004
Notes in English, Castellano, Deutsch, and French. Photo of the artist.
BIS CD-1443 [70.05]

Previous Releases

volumes 1-4 are on BIS CD-923, -1043, -1143 and -1243

Comparison Recordings:

Alicia De Larrocha, piano Decca 448 191-2

Artur Rubinstein, piano (1 piece in "Rubinstein Collection Vol. 18") RCA/BMG CD

As I said when I reviewed Volume 4, this is not merely great pianism, this is ravishingly beautiful pianism, magnificently recorded, conforming at the same time to the most rigorous standards of musicianship and responsibility to the text. One of the first things one learns is that Albénizís work was quite consistent, and there is no decline in quality as we move from early to late music.

As with so many famous Spanish musicians, Albéniz was Catalonian. Number three from Suite Espagnole is "Sevilla," one of Albénizís most popular piano works and you have never heard it more beautifully or seductively played than here. As with other great pianists, we have the feeling that the hammers of the piano are actually the ends of the artistís fingers and that he is directly caressing the strings, as one would the strings of a guitar. Number five from Suite Espagnole is "Leyenda" another of Albénizís most popular and frequently played pieces. In contrast to most pianists, Baselga makes this less of an imitation of guitar sound and plays the work as a true piano study. Through this we become aware of Baselgaís awesome musico-dramatic intelligence. Few guitarists could play the work this fast anyway. You will want to keep your other favourite performances of this work, but you wonít want to miss this one.

Rubinsteinís recordings of Spanish music reflect a showmanís skill at effective drama. DeLarrochaís 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. 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. I would love to hear him play Ravel. In Volume 4, his jacket portrait strove for a gaucho-hunk image, but here he is the bespectacled scholar, the intense young Euro-adult, mirroring in his various physical incarnations the shifting moods of his musicianís view of Albéniz the colourist.

Paul Shoemaker

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus


Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.