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Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Piano Quintet in G minor, Op.49 (1895) [15:55]
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Piano Quintet in G minor, Op.1 (1907) [30:53]
Las musas de Andalucia: Caliope Op.93 No.9 (1942) [4:26]
Quiroga Quartet; Javier Perianes (piano)
rec. February-March 2015, Teldex Studio, Berlin
HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902226 [51:20]

These two early Spanish chamber works, both in G minor, reflect the rather different musical influences on the two composers. The Granados Piano Quintet, composed in 1895, has a fertile freshness to it that may suggest why he was, for a time, known as the ‘Spanish Grieg’ whilst Turina’s 1907 work, his Op.1, has a much more Franckian stamp.

It’s that verdant element that marks out the older man’s Quintet. Whilst it might hint at a fugato in the opening movement that’s largely a blind; he’s much more interested in drawing out capricious wit from his forces. The central Allegretto suggests the quiet strumming of a guitar, its melancholy song – with deft piano commentaries and very quiet strings – beautifully evocative of a languorous Catalan afternoon. Songfulness turns to volubility in the bubbling finale with a reflective second subject full of lissom romanticism and then back for the energetic terpsichorean final paragraphs. This delightful work, flecked with splendid effects and rich moods, can be heard to excellent advantage in a performance that never goes overboard expressively. It never needs to.

The slowly evolving fugue in Turina’s Quintet is based on plainchant and the piano writing is very strongly suggestive of an immersion in Franck, whose harmonies, breadth and seriousness of purpose stamp this Op.1. The animated second movement sounds a little late Romantic in spirit and perhaps just a touch four-square but it too draws on an accumulation of Franckian weight to make its point. A slow section leads on to a rather heavy scherzo – it lacks the whimsical and personal nature of Granados’s work – before the finale is unleashed. One might expect a ‘finale problem’ in the 25-year old’s work but not a bit of it. In many ways this is the most arresting of the four movements, with solo flourishes and possible echoes of flamenco, leading to a lively conclusion. Caliope is one of the nine movements from Las musas de Andalucia, Op.93 No.9, a much later Turina work, composed in 1942. This last of the nine movements was dedicated to Joaquín Rodrigo. Solemn and expressive, it makes a fine envoi.

The helpful booklet notes make for engaging reading and the recording balance has been very well judged.

This is, I think, a unique coupling. I enjoyed the performances very much. They are elegant and controlled though there’s no doubt that the newly released Turina chamber music twofer from the Lincoln Trio and guests on Cedille CRD 900000 150 offers the more passionate and intense performance of the Quintet – and that’s not merely because it shaves a minute off the Quiroga Quartet and Javier Perianes’ timing in the finale. The Lincoln ensemble offers altogether a more emotive take on the work throughout, but for an equally plausible, less volatile performance the Quiroga is fine and in the greater work, the Granados, exemplary.

Jonathan Woolf



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