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<<  -- 3 --  Bill Newman    PIANO EXOTICA

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1915-1921 pinpoints incidents witnessed or expressed: like Suburbis, the crowd's jollity intermingling with solo guitar, Gitanes 1 & 2, La Cegueta, and L'home de l'aristo - a personality-cross between Debussy's S Pickwick and General Lavine; while in Scenes d'enfants, Schumann's domestic child is transferred to the street and outdoor play area, conserving 'young ladies' to the beauteous pleasures of the garden. A gift to 'penetrate', 'inspire', 'evoke', 'call for' a gamut of sensual emotions are sublimated in six tiny pieces: Charmes.

1921-62 saw a continuous quest for perfection; individual pieces taking 20-40 years to complete: 10 Préludes are each uniquely personal although with certain reminders of Godowsky's harmonic colourings. No 7 becomes suddenly Scriabinesque and No 10 recalls Debussy. Variations sur un thème de Chopin (Prelude in A major) is a triumph in changing harmonisations. Variation 10 extemporises the subject with 'I am always changing rainbows' (Fantaisie-Impromptu). No 11 is an inversion, and the final Galope y epílogo, a delightful exercise in frivolity. Cançons i dansas returns us to familiar territory, each piece totally independent in mood and key structure.

Martin Jones responds to the gargantuan task of performing all this music, virtually with no edits in Nimbus's fine concert hall, with marvellously controlled rhythms, touch and stylistic finess. Apart from Alicia de Larrocha, a special exponent from the older Spanish school, Antonio Soria (Edicions Albert Moraleda: Turina) and Artur Pizarro (Collins Classics: Mompou) are outclassed.

 

Copyright © 24 September 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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