WORKS: Piano Music (complete)
PERFORMER: Martin Jones (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 1734
On the evidence of this set of his complete piano music, Granados is one of those composers whose rarities are rarities for very good reasons, and look likely to remain so. There are no gems requiring only the removal of a little dirt, a little polishing, to be viewed in their true sparkling splendour. His Goyescas and the Spanish Dances are the pieces that are still played regularly: the rest is not silence but a few hours of music – perhaps excepting the Escenas poéticas and a few miniatures such as Paisaje – that stick in the memory only for being long-winded, heavy-going and an unnecessary expenditure of listening time.
Martin Jones would obviously disagree. A couple of years ago he recorded nearly two CDs’ worth of Granados, including Goyescas, and has now returned to complete the project. His job here sometimes seems to be more as an archivist than an artist, getting the stuff logged and tagged and put away in the CD vaults. Could he not have made more of the Valses íntimos, for example, where deftness and humour on the part of the performer might have uncovered the same in the music? One can only speculate what a great waltzer like Lipatti might have made of these. The Spanish Dances, too, wanted more invention in the phrasing: these pieces actually deserve it. Eduardo del Pueyo, always inspired rather than merely functional, showed what they can be on a recording that also includes Goyescas. Christopher Wood