Falla: Complete works for solo piano

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Falla
LABELS: Claves
WORKS: Complete works for solo piano
PERFORMER: Ricardo Requejo (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 50-9615
The year’s second Falla cycle (see January) brings a satisfyingly opposite approach to Miguel Baselga’s on BIS. Where he was incisive and exploratory, Requejo takes a spacious, Romantic perspective. Of the two major works, the Piezas espagñolas fall the more fluently into place as a wide-ranging sequel to Albéniz’s piano music, rather than a stage in the development of a visionary. Passion flows and the rhythms dance easily.

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The Fantasía bética can sound one of the wildest and most elemental creations ever let loose on a keyboard, but it rarely does. If pianists are now overwhelmed by the technical difficulties they can lose the tension of the build-up in a welter of detail. Requejo’s steady-as-she-goes performance allows the poetry of the quieter moments time to make its point, but it lacks a megavolt or two and Europeanises the stark flamenco content.

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He enjoys himself bringing out the charm of the short early works, and the acoustic is more generous than BIS’s, but these are secondary considerations. In any case, for the Piezas and the Fantasía, listeners are still best advised to seek out Alicia de Larrocha (Decca, EMI or RCA). Robert Maycock