I’ve only just returned from a holiday to Barcelona and rather
thankfully, did not encounter anyone wearing the costume on
the cover of this disc. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear
any classical music this good on my trip, either. The closest
I got was taking a photo of a street named after “Enric Granados”.
Enric Granados appears here, as one of four composers in an
intriguing and off-the-beaten-path program of Spanish works
for piano trio. All are very charmingly in the Spanish style,
and all are played with brio and fire by the Devich Trio.
The disc begins with Joaquín Turina’s Círculo, a roughly
ten-minute piece in three movements. Those who know Turina from
his Sinfonia sevillana or his buoyant, glittering piano works
will be surprised by the dark expressiveness of the first movement,
aptly subtitled “Dawn” and dominated at first by a searching
cello solo. True to the title’s promise, though, the sun soon
rises and the whole trio bring the movement to a rousing close.
“Mediodía (Noon)” is quite clearly inspired by flamenco and
other folk dances, and is a lot of fun. The finale, “Dusk,”
naturally winds down to a satisfying fadeout into the night
The next work is a piano trio by the Catalan cellist Gaspar
Cassadó, an excellent work full of Spanish color and great writing
for all three instruments. But it should not be written off
as a collection of Spanishisms: this is a serious trio, with
a hefty, dramatic first movement that builds, thanks to the
bold playing of the Devich Trio, to a really massive climax
at around 6:30. The slow movement bears enigmatic Arabic influences,
and the finale, opening with a recitative in which violin and
cello mimic Spanish spoken word, perhaps, is especially striking.
Cassadó also supplies an arrangement of Enrique Granados’ contribution,
the intermezzo from his opera Goyescas. A fairly well-known
work, this, but a mere pleasing trifle compared to the sizzling
pieces it sits in between.
On the other side is Enrique Arbós’ Trez piezas originales,
Op 1. Arbós is probably best-known today for orchestrating
some of Albeniz’ monumental suite Iberia, but this is
a formidable composition in its own right. The opening bolero
is flashy, fiery, but romantic too, very much an attention-getter.
The central habanera, slightly more relaxed, seduces in a different
way. The finale, Seguidillas Gitanas, is a scintillating
dance structured a bit like a scherzo, with the fast sections
evoking the clicking of dancing shoes.
In other words, this is a fine bit of musical tourism. The program
is well-planned and extremely well-executed by the Devich Trio,
who are clearly having a lot of fun. The playing time is comparatively
short, but the structure of the recital is wholly satisfying,
and the four works on offer feel just right for an aural holiday.
If you like what you hear in this recital, do try to check out
Tomás Bretón’s Four Spanish Pieces, a similar suite of
richly folkloric music played with aplomb (but recorded harshly)
on a Naxos disc with the LOM Piano Trio. But this is such an
easy recommendation that I need only praise the stylish presentation,
gripe slightly about the flattering artist-centric liner notes,
and comment on the natural sound which affords each player equal
prominence, before sending you off to your shopping cart.