Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Piano Music - 7
Álbum de Viaje, op.15 (1915) [18:29]
Viaje Marítimo, op.49 (1930) [10:40]
Evocaciones, op.46 (1928) [10:39]
Mallorca, op.44 (1927) [15:13]
Tarjetas Postales, op.58 (1930) [10:49]
Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, 7-8 May 2010.
NAXOS 8.572455 [66:09] 

Piano Music - 8
Jardins d'Andalousie, op.31 (1924) [19:41]
Le Quartier de Santa Cruz (Variations Rythmiques), op.33 (1925) [17:56]
Las Musas de Andalucía, op.93 (1942) (excerpts) [10:09]
En el Cortijo (Impresiones Andaluzas), op.92 (1940) [14:26]
Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, 26-27 February 2011.
NAXOS 8.572682 [62:12] 

Piano Music - 9
Coins de Séville, op.5 (1911) [14:30]
La Leyenda de la Giralda, op.40 (1926) [12:42]
Por las Calles de Sevilla, op.96 (1943) [10:57]
Contemplación, op.99 (1944) [13:25]
Desde mi Terraza, op.104 (1947) [9:41]
Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, 27-28 July 2012.
NAXOS 8.572915 [61:30] 

These three discs represent volumes seven to nine in a first-class Jordi Masó series for Naxos. This has been accruing at the rate of one a year since the end of 2004.
Joaquín Turina is arguably Number Four in the top rank of early 20th-century Spanish composers, after Albéniz, Falla and Granados - not necessarily in that order. Like Albéniz, Turina is 'famous' for one or two guitar pieces that were completely atypical of his output, which is primarily piano-based, with secondary emphasis on chamber music and stage works. 

Of the big four, he was the most consciously European and this comes through in his piano music, in which there are elements of impressionism, folk and jazz, of the Parisian, Viennese and Londonian, shafts and shimmers of Debussy, Ravel and Saint-Saëns. Nevertheless, the southern Spanish flavour of Turina's music is obvious. Most of the works across the three discs considered here are of the 'album leaf' or 'reminiscence' variety, recalling or describing this or that part of Turina's native Andalusia in three to five short episodes or 'moments'. Warm and nostalgic, urbane and romantic, the music focuses on the brighter side of life rather than the darker underbelly sometimes tackled by his friend Falla. 

In fact it is fair to say that for many, any one of the three discs will serve the same purpose. Both Turina and Masó are consistently excellent throughout, and a random dip into one gives much the same experience as a dip into either of the others. Fans of either or both will be the chief movers as regards multiple purchases, though even then there is something to be said for waiting and hoping for a cut-price boxed set sometime after completion of the cycle. 

Much of Turina's best writing is to be found in his chamber music, such as his Piano Quintet, String Quartet and three Piano Trios, all of which are fairly well served by recordings - Naxos themselves have done the lattermost (8.555870) as well as the two Violin Sonatas (8.570402), this disc also enhanced by Jordi Masó. 

However, there are some terrific works for solo piano too. From volume 9, for example, the late Por las Calles de Sevilla, hugely evocative and twilit, or the virtuosic Leyenda de la Giralda; the fragrantly expressive Jardins d’Andalousie, complete with birdsong, from volume 8; the folk-infused exotica of the Álbum de Viaje from volume 7. It is not clear, incidentally, why Naxos have given some titles in French - presumably because they were published in Paris first. The 'official' Turina website gives only Spanish titles, as does Grove Music Online. 

The dread word 'excerpts' rears its ugly head on volume 8, and at first sight this appears a heinous omission on the part of Naxos. In fact, Turina's Las Musas de Andalucía is a hybrid nine-movement work written for piano quintet and voice - but not necessarily at the same time. Movements one, seven and eight are for piano solo only and have thus been included by Masó, in the interests of completeness if not artistic necessity. 

Sound quality is consistently decent across all three discs, with the same venue having been used in consecutive years. In some instances a faint background hiss is audible, especially at volume, and there is also just a hint of brittleness in the highest register. The well-translated booklet notes are by Justo Romero in each case, detailed and lucid.
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Warm and nostalgic, urbane and romantic, the music focuses on the brighter side of life. 

See also review of Volume 8 by Paul Corfield Godfrey

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