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Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Sonata pintoresca), Op.24 (1921) [21.33]
Trilogía (1933-1934) [34.33]
Los site Dolores de la Virgen María, Op.102 (unfinished) [5.44]
Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. 2016, Auditorium, Jafre, Spain.
NAXOS 8.573677 [62.06]

This is the final release of Jordi Masó’s 13-disc survey of the complete piano works of Turina. Often the last issue will be a collection of miscellaneous pieces, demonstrating hints of the greatness of other works in the series and likely to be of special interest only to the completist fan. Not so here: all three of the works are pieces of some substance; indeed, this CD would not be the worst place to begin an exploration of all the composer’s oeuvre for piano.

For many, Turina is known principally through his orchestral works, and La Oración Del Torero – in its orchestral guise – is his best-known piece. His orchestral writings, while attractive and justly popular, have in them something of ‘postcards from Spain’ in their character. The piano works, as here, are generally tougher while still showing melodic gifts.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Sonata pintoresca) is perhaps the most obviously picturesque of the three works. Each movement has a title (En la torre del Castillo [High on the Citadel Tower], Siluetas en La Calzada [Silhouettes in La Calzada], La Playa, Los Pescadores en Bajo de Guía [Fishermen in  Bajo de Guía]) which suggests a visual impression, yet the whole piece follows academic sonata form quite strictly, while, nevertheless incorporating moments of obviously Spanish material (a flamenco in the final movement, for instance).

Trilogía, dedicated by Turina to his wife, is something less than a suite; connections are not immediately evident, yet each part is a piece of considerable substance. The first piece, El poemo infinito, suggests many moods, moving from an initially tentative – even slightly misty – beginning, eventually becoming more rapid, more confident in expression; by the end, it is fully affirmative.  Offrenda has three movements or, as Turina calls them, ‘strophes’. Most significant, and, I think, most memorable, is the central andante, a mournful and grief-laden tribute to his daughter, who had died two years earlier. The Dies Irae is quoted, but it is in the final and longest movement, Hipócrates, that we find a pot-pourri of allusions to other composers. Conceived as a theme and variations, this high-spirited work contains quotations from Tannhäuser, Beethoven’s Fifth, Chopin’s Funeral March, Bach, Scheherazade and various popular Spanish songs. It is rather fun.

The two brief fragments of Los site Dolores de la Virgen María, respectively representing Simeon’s Prophecy and the Flight to Egypt, are characteristically atmospheric.

Hats off to Naxos for another valuable complete series. Jordi Masó is a fine pianist, absolutely at home in this repertoire. He and the recording bring out very well both the lyrical and percussive elements of the music, though, for my taste, the piano is a little too closely miked; at times the mechanism is faintly audible, though this does not detract from the felicities to be enjoyed here.

Michael Wilkinson



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