Artur Pizarro - Albeniz & Granados - Musical Pointers

As a boy, I was first captivated by Albéniz through Rubinstein's '78 shellac disc ("an ebullient Navarra and a vivacious, clean-cut Sevilla" - Gramophone) and later treasured Alicia de Larrocha in one of the BBC's very first digital transmissions from the Royal Festival Hall...

I have misplaced my score of Iberia, but am helped by Artur Pizarro's 8 pages of his travels through the Spain of Albéniz & Granados. He rehearses his identification with the piano since his first public performance at 3 and debut on Portuguese TV at 4 ! He studied and was influenced by great teachers back to the world that Granados and Albeniz were part of, studying in Portugal and later in Paris with legendary names, becoming familiar with all the great recordings of this music. He describes the exceptional difficulties of Iberia, some pieces of which the composer couldn't play, and countless hours deciphering the complications and confusions of the score before finally achieving "the gargantuan task of training the notes into the fingers". His candour makes you trust him.

De Larrocha insisted to Artur Pizarro "You must not imitate me!". So let me say simply that this double CD for Linn of these perennial favourites is quite wonderful and makes for gripping, sensuous listening from first to last; let's leave comparative reviewing to the piano specialists.

Pizarro devoted 5 days to the recording in a 'post-natal' studio within the Bluthner factory in Leipzig, and the whole team deserves unreserved praise.

It is a landmark in recorded history and an essential addition to everyone's library of Spanish piano music.

16 April 2010