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August 1 2021 2:36 PM ˚

Granados’ piano suite brings fresh sound, a youthful touch

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By Jean-Claude Elias (Photo: Jordan News)
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Released last May under Dynamic Records Inc, Goyescas is a new recording by Italian virtuoso Viviana Lasaracina of Spanish composer Enrique Granados’ celebrated piano suite. The seven pieces, composed in the early twentieth century, were inspired by the paintings of Francisco Goya, hence their title. اضافة اعلان

Granados lived from 1867 to 1916 and is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish musicians. Although he mainly composed paino pieces, he worked on several successful guitar pieces.

The set, also known as Opus 11, is one of Granados’ most popular compositions, crowning his work. He completed it in 1911, five years before he passed away. Also featured on the new album, as the eighth track, is the allegro movement of the concerto in C sharp major, Opus 46, by the same composer.

The Goyescas suite is an inspiring blend of several classical music traits. It combines the lyricism of Spanish folkloric music, the spirit of the end the classical romantic period that went from 1830 to 1900, and the harmonic structures that characterize the classical musical works of the first half the twentieth century. It is a bridge between the traditional and the modern classical worlds.

Lasaracina’s interpretation of the Goyescas is brilliant. The young pianist manages to perform the challenging compositions flawlessly, perfectly conveying the spirit of Granados and changing the difficulty in smoothly flowing music. Within moments, the massive chords conjure up the music of Frederic Chopin and the melancholy of his minor mode harmonies. It is also difficult not to think of Ravel and Debussy when listening to the album.

The fast arpeggios are crystal-clear, the timing is impeccable, the dynamics are just right in each of the seven pieces. The performance is all about class and good taste.

From the energetic, dance-like No.3 (El Fandango Del Candil) to the slower Goyesca No.5 (El Amor Y La Muerte), Lasaracina plays each of the suite pieces with equal mastery. The emotion, the colors, they are always present — this is indeed Spanish music after all, taken to the highest level by the pianist!

The music is enhanced further by the superb piano used for the recording and technical production. There are obvious but discreet, measured efforts to make this new release different from the preceding ones. Lasaracina’s recording of the Goyescas compares to Spanish composer and pianist Alicia de Larrocha’s 1991 version.

Granados’ Goyescas should nestle in the collection of all lovers of classical music. Lasaracina’s recording has already received well-deserved rave reviews in the US and Europe and can be considered as a masterpiece.

In a world where the various pop music genres (including rock) usually take the market’s lion share, it is a comfort and a pleasure to see that classical music is alive and well. Over the past two years, online streaming services have experienced a 35 percent listening increase in classical music by their subscribers — this includes Spotify and Apple music.

New recordings and new interpretations of classical pieces always manage to bring a new light, a new element to the composers’ works. Lasaracina’s brings a fresh sound, a young touch, and her album is a milestone in that regard.

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