Notes and Editorial Reviews
GRANADOS Goyescas • Nikita Magaloff (pn) • DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 4116 (56:00)
"If I were to compile a list of great musicians whose careers did not live up to their potential on account of bad luck, pianist Nikita Magaloff, who died nearly 20 years ago, would most definitely warrant at least an honorable mention. A close artistic associate of Dinu Lipatti, who personally recommended that he be hired as his replacement at th
e Geneva Conservatory, Magaloff was an artist with remarkable gifts. The Granados recording, which I believe makes its debut on CD, is...very fine. Here, it is hard not to be won over by Magaloff’s mastery of the idiomatic writing, not to mention his technical proficiency, which makes child’s
play of Granados’s bravura writing. That said, I would not rank Magaloff’s performance alongside my two favorite recordings of this work—those of Alicia de Larrocha (particularly her 1960s set) and Nicholas Zumbro, the latter of which I had the privilege of reviewing in Fanfare 35:6. While there is a lot to admire in Magaloff’s elegant and polished playing, I believe that both Larrocha and Zumbro dig deeper into Granados’s music and, in very different ways, present this mysterious cycle as a meaningful and cohesive whole, something I don’t quite get from Magaloff’s performances, which are aptly described in the liner notes as “an exhibition of fine manners.” In case you are wondering, the disc includes “El Pelele,” which, like Larrocha and more recently Garrick Ohlsson, Magaloff appends at the end of the cycle. In my view, “El Pelele” fits better before “Los Requiebros,” as an overture of sorts.
The recordings were taped in monaural sound, but the quality is still very impressive. Highly recommended."
FANFARE: Radu A. Lelutiu
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