WORKS: Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 67; Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 82
PERFORMER: Ensemble Variable
CATALOGUE NO: 999 609-2
These chamber works by Turina and Granados resonate with the vivid harmonic language and impetuous rhythms of the folk music of their native Spain, but also bear the imprint of the Impressionists’ influence in their spacious, colouristic textures.
Pieces by the later composer, Turina, are recorded first. His Piano Quartet of 1931 is supremely lyrical, shaded with a vibrant chromaticism which builds on Andalusian melodic contours. Ensemble Variable gives an eloquent reading: the velvet tone colours from the strings in the opening Lento are particularly fine, and pianist Andreas Frölich’s delicate touch is well judged.
In ‘Caliope’, from Musas de Andalucia, Turina’s inventive textures intensify the effect of this brief work, in which piano and string quartet alternate as separate voices. The Violin Sonata No. 2 is a more sunny affair, Sonja van Beek joining Frölich for a sprightly and charming reading of this vehemently expressive work.
Granados’s ‘Romanza’, also for violin and piano, is alluring for its evocative simplicity, the composer’s turn-of-the-century Romantic preoccupations ever-present in the violin’s song-like phrases. The Piano Quartet of 1898 is vivacious and picturesque, the final molto presto especially compelling for its feverish dance rhythms interrupted by moments of exquisite stillness. Throughout, Ensemble Variable treats these rich and appealing pieces with just the right air of lush lyricism, shaded with an occasionally brash edge: an idiomatic and sensitive recording. Catherine Nelson