Turina Chamber Music: The Nash Quartet

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Joaquín Turina
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Turina Chamber Music
WORKS: Piano Quartet in A Minor; Violin Sonata No. 2 in G; Escena Andaluza; Piano Trio No.1; La Oración del Torero
PERFORMER: The Nash Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: CDA67889

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Joaquin Turina’s music has wide and obvious appeal, and an ever-growing discography, yet I have never quite been able to feel in him a composer the equal of his contemporaries and fellow-countrymen Falla, Granados and Albéniz. He has the aristocratic refinement, impeccable good taste and consummate technique that he learned during his years in Paris but, though his works often strike attitudes of Hispanic passion, I seldom experience the works as genuinely passionate. But there’s no doubt he was a thorough musician. Happily he had a real flair for chamber music and the Nash Ensemble’s present collection includes some of his best works
in that field, making this a highly recommendable disc for anyone who enjoys early 20th-century Spanish music.

Everything here is performed with great warmth and a real sense of belief in the music – especially Marianne Thorsen and Ian Brown’s eloquent and characterful account of the Sonata espagnola for violin and piano. There are other performances of the masterful Piano Trio No. 1 and the evocative Escena Andaluza for the unusual combination of solo viola and piano quintet, but I rate these as the very best I’ve heard, with Lawrence Power’s viola an eloquent principal voice in the latter. Even the popular Oracíon del torero, given here in its string quartet version, receives a performance of rare distinction, without any hint of sentimentality.

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Calum MacDonald