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Thread: Albéniz and Sánchez

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Default Albéniz and Sánchez

    Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was classically trained, and lived part of his career in Paris. He was an excellent pianist as well as composer, and was known and admired by many of his European contemporaries. For many of his biographers, his life as a composer is divided into two parts: before Iberia and Iberia.

    Many pianists have recorded Iberia, and some of them have recorded some of the pre-Iberia pieces too. For me, the premier recordings have been made by Esteban Sánchez. He was virtuosic at a very high level, seemed to feel Albéniz's music 'in his blood', and most of the recordings are played on a piano with sound characteristics that, for me at least, enhance the Moorish influence in the music. (Some critics complain that the piano is out-of-tune.)

    Detailed descriptions of the works are beyond my skill level, and should be locatable on the Internet if you need them. My reactions to the music are my own, subjective, and far from universally shared. I can only bear to listen to Iberia one book at a time, finding the music both entrancing, and tiring because of the concentration it forces me involuntarily to expend.

    The record company Brilliant Classics has released a 3-CD set of Albéniz by Sánchez, which includes, besides Iberia most of his recordings of the earlier (1880s) works. This set appears to be readily available.

    Brilliant Classics licensed the recordings from the Spanish company Ensayo, and remastered them for their issue. The Ensayo CDs are considerably harder to find. There is some public debate about the purported improvements in the new remasterings. My hearing is less-than-great, and I detect no significant improvements.

    Sánchez and his piano may be 'too strong a drink' for your appreciation of Albéniz's music. But how are you going to know unless you try it?

    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    I very much agree on the subject here - Sanchez adds so much more individual colour and flow to the music than the alternative versions I´ve heard; they often seem bleak and insensitive by comparison. It´s an incredible bargain and brings the works to the level of Albeniz´s French colleagues, perhaps surpassing Granados and definitely surpassing the few De Falla and massive number of Mompou piano works.

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    Senior Member Taneyev's Avatar
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    I'll stay with Alicia. She goes much deeper than Sanchez IMO.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odnoposoff View Post
    I'll stay with Alicia. She goes much deeper than Sanchez IMO.
    De Larrocha's Iberia is nicer than Sanchez's; there is no sweat in it.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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