Granados: Goyescas

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Granados
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Goyescas
PERFORMER: Jean-Marc Luisada (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 435 787-2 DDD
Granados suffers from being paired and confused with his contemporary Albéniz. If asked to describe the difference, I’d say that Granados was the more conservative and sedate of the two. It’s hard to find much similarity between these six piano pieces and the disturbing, sometimes subversive painter they celebrate. Granados’s music is all glittering decoration and sumptuous textures, though there’s surely more structure beneath it than Jean-Marc Luisada suggests.

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Since Granados marked rubato only occasionally in the music, presumably he didn’t want it the whole time. Luisada starts pulling the rhythm about from the very first bar, with the result that the music seems unsure of where it’s going. He also sounds as if he is trying hard to push the piano tone to fill the recording space, which seems large and resonant. It’s usual to admire Alicia de Larrocha in this repertory, but I find her correct and dull. Try Thomas Rajna’s recording on CRD. Adrian Jack