Turina, Falla & Mompou

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Falla & Mompou,Turina
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Spanish Piano Music, Vol. 2
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Martin Jones (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5619-23
Either Martin Jones or his record company has distinct completist tendencies. He has recorded the complete piano output of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Szymanowski, and last year embarked on a project to cover, if not all Spanish piano music, then most of the significant works by the significant composers. Albéniz and Granados formed Vol. 1; now Jones returns to mop up pockets of resistance.

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That he manages to sound so convincing in such a range of repertoire is a tribute less to a chameleon-like quality in Jones than an uncanny gift for probing the soul of diverse musics. If there is a fault in the current set it is overgenerosity. Two well-filled discs of Turina feel like a lot, although it is good to be reminded of his exuberant and enigmatic portraits of Spanish female types (‘Mujeres españolas’) and his richly imaginative recycling of Spanish folk traditions.

Falla, like Turina, composes dense-textured works that lean heavily on folk music, but his piano output is disappointingly forgettable. After several hours of big-hitting pianism, Mompou’s soulful miniatures come as a considerable relief. Mompou, not unusually for a Catalan, looks for influences more towards the France of Debussy and Satie – and beyond to Grieg – than to the Spanish past. Jones, as deft here as he was meaty before, captures his evanescent, impressionistic essays to perfection to round off a highly impressive collection.

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Alicia de Larrocha is an inevitable benchmark for Falla and Mompou. For Turina one might well start with Jones. Christopher Wood