Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Goyescas (complete) (1912-16) [65:23]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Pantomima [4:16]; Canción del Fuego Fatuo [2:43]
Nicholas Zumbro (piano)
rec. London, 1992.
KRITONOS 8 85767 06331 0 [72:24]
Tennessee-born Zumbro’s credentials can be traced back to his
training at Juilliard and with a wide span of European teachers. International
tours have been accommodated alongside teaching at Juilliard, Indiana
University, University of Hawaii and the University of Arizona. There
have also been master-classes in Europe, China, Korea, Iceland and the
USA. Zumbro is a composer with a catalogue that includes music for Euripides'
Hippolytus, an opera Kassandra,which was premiered
in Greece in 1990, children's songs and other vocal works.
This pianist leaves you with the sense, all too often glided over by
super-technicians, of a human being wrestling with the unlikely mechanical
device that is the piano. He translates Granados’s hugely challenging
Goyescas into sound that speaks to the listener. Zumbro
bridges the chasm yet preserves that fragile humanity without compromising
the poetry that is at the heart of this cycle. The last time I heard
something like this was many years ago on two long-lost Saga LPs from
the Spanish pianist, Mario Miranda. For me the apex is reached in Fandango
de candil where majesty and heroic endeavour are touchingly put
across. There’s nicely judged attention to fine dynamic shading
in El amor y la muerte - tender indeed. This is also what we
hear from Zumbro with the God-given melody that floats free in de Falla’s
Pantomima from El Amor Brujo. Lest there be any misunderstanding
Zumbro can also big it up as he does in the explosive Pelele
with which the cycle begins.
This is the full version of Goyescas, complete with El Pelele,
Crepuscolo and Intermezzo.
The piano is a Bösendorfer Concert Grand and the recording was
taken down by none other than Mike Skeet, a recording engineer we hear
too little from but who was much connected with the Ensemble and British
Music Label companies. It would be nice to know exactly where in London
this was recorded. The bass is sumptuous and the treble rings true without
This is a disc from Zumbro’s own label and the only number I have
is the scan code.
There is a companion as well which appears to have been set down in
London at the same time: Ives’ Concord Sonata and Barber’s
Is this the world’s best Goyescas? I don’t know the
field well enough but it is one of the most poetic and memorable I have
heard. Do not miss it if you have any affection for this superb work
in which elusive sensitivity, subtlety and romance meets the romance