Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados – Piano Concertos – Melani Mestre, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:16:58 minutes | 1,26 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | @ Hyperion Records
Recorded: January 2012, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Volume 65 (have you got them all?) of Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series journeys to Spain and the heart-on-sleeve world there to be found. The Albéniz Concierto fantástico owes much to Schumann and Chopin, albeit with an added drizzle of the Iberian peninsula; the perennially popular Rapsodia española, on the other hand, throws all such classical models to the wind.
Granados never actually got round to writing his piano concerto, so our pianist here—Hyperion debutant Melani Mestre—has done it for him. And it’s a romp. The first movement is pretty much ‘echt’, from Granados’ sketches for a putative piano concerto, but thereafter it’s a hugely enjoyable what-if …
The Spanish pianist and composer Melani Mestre is nothing if not bold, and on this CD he presents a concerto ‘by’ Granados, much of which he has himself written. But first he plays Albéniz’s Concierto Fantástico and his Rapsodia española, the latter in a score whose status is also a matter of debate. Albéniz’s concerto is impregnated throughout with the influence of Chopin, sometimes to a point where you’d think it was by him—particularly in the lyrical opening.
Mestre’s playing is limpid and convincing, with Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra giving discreet support (Albéniz’s focus stays firmly on the soloist), but as the first movement turns declamatory it becomes clear that Albéniz didn’t have Chopin’s magic touch. The Reverie which follows has a tender expressiveness, and the Scherzo a Mendelssohnian fizz, with the concluding Allegro making a fine vehicle for Mestre’s virtuosity. The Rapsodia allows Albéniz’s Spanishness to come clearly through, however, with its intense atmosphere, Hispanic intervals, and sequences of dances.
The first movement of Granados’s concerto (‘Patético’) only exists in fragmentary form, with several blank pages which Mestre has filled in from a two-piano sketch; he’s created the second and third movements by writing symphonic arrangements of two of Granados’s solo piano pieces. This ‘recomposition’ has mixed results: while the first movement has a brooding Romantic power reminiscent of Rachmaninov, the second and third are pale reflections of the piano pieces they are drawn from, with a tendency to schmaltz. –Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909), arr. Tomás Bretón (1850-1923)
Piano Concerto No 1 in A minor ‘Concierto fantástico’ Op 78
1 Allegro ma non troppo[13’07]
2 Rêverie et Scherzo: Andante – Presto[7’11]
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
4 Rapsodia española Op 70[13’14]
Enrique Granados (1867-1916) & Melani Mestre (b1976)
Piano Concerto in C minor ‘Patético’
5 Lento grave e quasi recitativo – Allegro grave non molto lento[18’36]
6 Allegretto (Danza española No 2: Orientale & Capricho español)[8’33]
7 Molto allegro (Allegro de concierto)[8’45]
Melani Mestre, piano
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor