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CD: AmazonUK


Spanish Piano
Enrique GRANADOS (1867–1916)
Allegro di Concierto (1904) [8:44]
Oriental (Danzas espagñolas) (1890) [4:55]
Andaluza (Danzas espagñolas) (1890) [4:24]
Isaac ALBENIZ (1860–1909)
Rumoresde la caleta (Malagueña) (recuerdos de viaje no.6) (1887) [4:07]
Asturias (Leyenda) (Suite espagñola no.5) (1886) [6:55]
El Puerto (Iberia, Volume 1 no.2) (1906/1908) [4:39]
Federico MOMPOU (1893–1987)
Canción y Danza V (1942) [4:41]
Canción y Danza VII (1942) [3:31]
Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912–2002)
Sonatine pour Yvette (1960) [10:45]
Manuel de FALLA (1876–1946)
Danza del molinero (El sombrero de tres picos) (1917/1919) [3:00]
Danza ritual del fuego (El amore brujo) (1915) [4:54]
Yoko Suzuki (piano)
rec. 1 September 2007. DDD
COLUMNA MÚSICA 1CM0189 [66:00]
Experience Classicsonline

What a splendid, varied and musical recital this is! In general the programming is very good, with plenty of variety, and the performances are lively and colourful.
Yoko Suzuki was born in Tokyo, but now lives in Barcelona. She started playing the piano at the age of 3, and when 18 she entered the Musashino University of Music in her home town. She moved to Spain in 2001 and entered the Marshall Academy, studying with Alicia de Larrocha and Carlota Garriga. She has a fine technique, understands the music she is playing and never overplays even in the most ridiculously virtuosic pieces (I am thinking here of the arrangement of Danza ritual del fuego). As well as demonstrating a magnificent understanding of timbre she employs a very wide range of tone colour. Her use of rubato is a sheer joy.
Just listen to her performance of Albeniz’s Granada. The right hand strums the keyboard, à la guitarra, as the left hand plays a tune of the utmost simplicity. Suzuki employs the most telling rubato, allowing the tune to breathe and imbuing the music with a special warmth. When the opening music reappears it is meltingly beautiful. This is a very subtle and thoughtful account.
It’s followed by a most playful performance of El Puerto, Suzuki appears to be almost nonchalant in her approach to this piece but she never loses sight of the dance–like quality of the work.
The two Mompou pieces are rather more serious; delicate and thoughtful, with, perhaps, more heart than one sometimes credits Mompou, but then again, perhaps this is because of Suzuki’s wonderful playing.
I have never been impressed with Montsalvatge’s music and this Sonatine is pleasant but it sits poorly in the company of the rest of the programme. It’s given a consummate performance but even this pianist cannot convince me that the piece is really worthy of its inclusion.
The disk opens with three fabulous Granados pieces – the first a not particularly Spanish piece but a real bravura race up and down the keyboard, in true romantic-heroic pianist style - think of Liszt in a warm climate! Oriental is winsome and full of nostalgia, while Andaluza dances away with its grace-note-accented accompaniment. The recital ends with a marvellously poker-faced Miller’s Dance and a wildfire Ritual Fire Dance.
Throughout, Suzuki plays brilliantly, giving herself to the music and making me salivate at the prospect of hearing her play a complete Danzas españolas, Suite española, Iberia and Canción y Danza. I’m not asking for too much, am I?
The recording is crisp and clear, and the performer’s own notes are good. Suzuki is the real thing – a pianist of brilliance and insight and this really is the great quality of her playing. I now want more.
Bob Briggs



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