Goyescas, Op. 11; Allegro de concierto, Op. 46
Viviana Lasaracina (piano)
Dynamic CDS 7887 76:25 mins
Goya is best-known for his terrifying ‘black’ paintings, most famously ‘Saturn Devouring His Son’. But throughout his long career, the Spanish artist also produced depictions of love, loss and daily life in late 18th-century Madrid – it was these images that had a profound impact on Granados, inspiring the narrative piano collection Goyescas (and later a one-act opera of the same name). Unlike Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Crumb’s Metamorphoses, Book I, where each section is linked to a particular painting, Granados only specifies exact images for two of the pieces: ‘El amor y la muerte’ (Love and death) and ‘El pelele’ (The straw man).
Viviana Lasaracina imbues ‘Los requiebros’ with an understated charm; here we meet our star-crossed lovers, whose passions are stirred in ‘Coloquio en la reja’. The early movements hint at the soundworld of Debussy – and, occasionally, Chopin (the great Chopin interpreter Alfred Cortot is among the contemporary pianists to whom this work was dedicated). The epilogue ‘Serenata del espectro’, in which we hear echoes of the now-dead Majo, is eerily effective. Lasaracina plays a Steinway Model D with a blindingly bright tone. Sadly, the lower registers aren’t always clearly captured, such as in the concluding Allegro de concierto Op. 46.