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Albéniz: Iberia, Vol. 2 - Ish-Hurwitz

Albéniz: Iberia, Vol. 2 - Ish-Hurwitz

Turtle Records  TR75530

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Isaac Albéniz: Iberia - Books 3 & 4

Yoram Ish-Hurwitz (piano)

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Review by John Miller - October 13, 2009

Volume One of Yoram Ish-Hurwitz's Iberia (Albéniz: Iberia, Vol. 1 - Ish-Hurwitz) was an unqualified success, both musically and sonically. Volume 2, with Books 3 and 4 (three pieces in each book) completes Albéniz' dazzling kaleidoscopic survey of the life and folk music of his country of birth, as seen from Paris of the early 1900's. These impressionistic tone poems for solo piano are one of the pinnacles of music written for the instrument, and are some of the most difficult works of all to play. Only a few pianists in a generation are able to fully give 'Iberia' its due; it requires staggering technical ability, great strength of hands and wrist, unflagging stamina and an intimate knowledge of the vibrant musical culture of Spain. Yoram Ish-Hurwitz is one such pianist, and together with Hamelin and Alicia de Larrocha has proved his mastery of the idiom.

Ish-Hurwitz's playing is effortless but refined, even when riding the crests of bravura fffff climaxes; he has a constant sense of dance and a warm, seductive singing tone for the many fabulous melodies, from languid to fiery. There is an infectious joy of spontaneous discovery as the music flows from him, as if he had never spent hours practising and struggling with the notational and harmonic difficulties laid before him in the score - which is often on three staves.

Turtle once again have produced an immaculate recording, originated in DXD at the famous Galaxy studios at Mol, Belgium; this should be a benchmark for capturing the sound of a superbly prepared Steinway D piano. Even the grey-scale digipak art provides atmosphere for the music, its collages of fin de siécle Spanish dancers and seedy look of the booklet are most evocative. The booklet contains a Q and A session with Ish-Hurwitz and Prof. Dr. Jacinto Torres, the leading Albeniz scholar, which reveals many insights, including the fact that Albeniz thought of destroying Lavapiés from Book 3 as he thought it unplayable.

A must-have recommendation for all lovers of piano music, which will astonish and beguile the listener for many years.

Copyright © 2009 John Miller and HRAudio.net

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