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Gemini - Albeniz: Iberia; Granados / Aldo Ciccolini

Release Date: 02/21/2006 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 76906   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Isaac AlbenizEnrique Granados
Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Works on This Recording

Suite Iberia by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
Goyescas for Piano, Op. 11 by Enrique Granados
Performer:  Aldo Ciccolini (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Spain 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 One of the finest Goyescas and Iberia ever record March 2, 2013 By Daniel Rose (Shrewsbury, MA) See All My Reviews "This is, with one exception, by far my favorite recorded performance of both Granados's Goyescas and Albeniz's Iberia. Both are among the most difficult piano pieces, often requiring three musical staffs to capture all of the voices on the page, sometimes requiring incredible rhythmic independence, not only between two hands, but sometimes between fingers of a single hand. This rhythmic and contrapuntal difficulty does not, by itself, dictate a great work of art. However, as in the best of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Chopin, these works brim with lyrical and harmonic inspiration, in this case, drawn from a Spanish ground rich in the deepest roots of its Islamic musical heritage. And they more than reward the work and talent required to play them well. In fact, they are so difficult (especially Iberia) that few performances have the strength and interpretive vision to convey all that these masterpieces have to offer. Alicia de Larrocha is often cited as the Gold Standard performer of these works, and indeed, in her final recording of Iberia released in the late 1980's, her playing of this work is marvelous, and much of what I have to say about Ciccolini's playing applies equally well to her's in this final recording as well. However, after hearing Aldo Ciccolini's recordings since they first came out in the late '60s, I have found that most other recordings leave much of the musical architecture and raw rhythmic drive hidden and unexpressed. De Larrocha's final recording of Iberia is better than most, but still lacks a certain simplicity and directness that might clarify the musical structure. That being said, she offers a different, perhaps more feminine vision of the work that has its own infectious integrity. (She had IMO not really mastered the work's many challenges for her earlier recordings; and I would love her to have re-recorded Goyescas in a similar fashion.) What Ciccolini brings like few others I have heard is a clarity and direction of musical line that never quite gets lost in the complexity of the many interwoven lines and cross-rhythms. At the same time, every voice is clearly spoken, and few, if any notes, are missed. As a result, he is able to tell a clear musical story, from beginning to end. This is true throughout both Goyescas and Iberia, an achievement I have never heard quite matched, except perhaps in de Larrocha's final Iberia (and perhaps a more recent Iberia recorded by Martin Jones on Nimbus). For example, in one of the more difficult parts of Iberia, Lavapiés (the final movement of Book III), crashing harmonic clusters easily obscure a clear melodic line almost from the beginning. Some performers completely lose it. But Ciccolini isolates that line beautifully, while hitting those harmonic clusters with sharpness and energy. Soon after, a complicated rhythmic interplay between the left and right hands never interferes with, and in fact reinforces that same dancing tune, in its many changes to end of the movement. Many other performers, at worst, slow down to get all the notes and crashing harmonies while missing the line entirely. This challenge of maintaining a clean lyrical line gets even harder in parts of Book IV. Yet, Ciccolini's uncompromising strength and simplicity of approach never waivers. One place to quibble, for sure, is in a restatement of the second theme (un peu plus calme) of El Corpus Christi en Savilla (third movement of Book I), where Ciccolini seems to pay little attention to the double-barred holds at the end of each phrase of the theme. It may be a consequence of the shorter vinyl playing time available when it was originally recorded that he does not do so. On the other hand, his less choppy approach lends a certain clarity to the overall line that fits Ciccolini's more straight forward approach. This is perhaps the earliest stereo recording of both Goyescas and Iberia that deserves a point of special reference, along with the more recent recordings by de Larrocha and Jones." Report Abuse
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