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GRANADOS  SPANISH DANCES
Danses espagnoles, Op 37



The Granados Spanish Dances are a world unto themselves.  Listening to them is akin to getting lost in Chopin's mazurkas or Schubert's Ländler.  I must say, Granados, a great pianist, is one of my favorite composers of music for the piano.  And these pieces, many of which I have played for much of my life, are among the gems of the repertoire.

Other than the recordings Granados himself made of several of the dances which often have wonderfully spontaneous extra notational effects, I always seem to go back to performances by Alicia de Larrocha, especially the early 1954 recordings.  They are perfection.  She owns this music.  But this takes nothing away from the other great Spanish pianists represented here, del Pueyo, Soriano and Orozco.

The performances of the fifth of the he Granados Spanish Dances (the most popular by far if the number of recordings of this piece is any indication) by Aldo Ciccolini and the Russian pianist Konstantin Bogino - Who is this guy? - are stunning. 

Rubinstein's version of the fifth dance is typical Rubinstein.  It is beautifully and elegantly played.  But it does not capture the essence of the Spanish rhythms so essential to the performance of this music.  It is too clean, too precise, too . . . not enough, and it don't dance.  If you want a spectacularly stylized alternative approach, try the Michelangeli. 

There are gorgeous performances by Cor de Groot of the fifth dance, and by Boshniakovich of the second.

Also of note are the recordings of almost the complete set of the Granados Spanish Dances by Carolina Estrada Bascuñana, a young Spanish pianist.  On the whole the playing is very fine, but the performance of the 12th dance is magical.



ENRIQUE GRANADOS

1913 Welte Mignon piano rolls


2 Oriental



5 Andaluza



7 Valenciana
(1912 accoustic recording)



10 Danza Triste




LEOPOLD GODOWSKY
Polish-American pianist (1870-1938)

5 Andaluza

recorded in 1924




ARTUR RUBINSTEIN
Polish-American pianist (1887-1982)

5 Andaluza [followed by other works]

recorded during the late 1940s or early 1950s




EDUARDO del PUEYO
Spanish pianist (1905-1986)

2 Oriental




GONZALO SORIANO
Spanish pianist (1913 - 1972)


2
Oriental (rec 1956)



5 Andaluza




COR de GROOT
Dutch pianist (1914 - 1993)

5 Andaluza




ARTURO BENEDETTI MICHELANGELI
Itailan pianist (1920 - 1995)

5 Andaluza




OLEG BOSHNYAKOVICH
Russian Soviet pianist (1920 - 2006)

2 Oriental




PNINA SALZMAN
Israeli pianist (1922 - 2006)

5 Andaluza




ALICIA de LARROCHA
Spanish-Catalan pianist (1923 - 2009)

1 Minueto
02:432 Oriental
07:133 Zarabanda
10:484 Villanesca
16:065 Andaluza
20:236 Rondalla aragonesa
24:037 Valenciana
28:458 Asturiana
32:189 Mazurca
37:1310 Danza triste
41:3311 Zambra
46:4512 Arabesca

recorded in 1954




ALDO CICCOLINI
Italian-French pianist (b 1925)

5 Andaluza

recorded live in 2013




RAFAEL OROZCO
Spanish pianist (1946 - 1996)

5 Andaluza




KONSTANTIN BOGINO
Russian pianist (b 1950)

5 Andaluza

recorded live in 2009




ALEXANDER FOMENKO
Russian pianist (b 1957)

2 Oriental

recorded live in 2005




PETER NAGY
Hungarian pianist (b 1960)

5 Andaluza




LEIF OVE ANDSNES
Norwegian pianist (b 1970)

5 Andaluza

recorded live ca2012




CLAUDIO CARBÓ
Spanish pianist (b 1976)


2
Oriental



5 Andaluza




CAROLINA ESTRADA BASCUÑANA
contemporary Spanish-Catalan pianist

recorded live in 2014


1
Minueto
2 Oriental
3 Zarabanda



4 Villanesca
5 Andaluza
6 Rondalla aragonesa



7 Valenciana
8 Asturiana
9 Mazurca



12 Arabesca (Bolero)
recorded in 2013




SEBASTIAN STANLEY
contemporary Spanish-born English pianist

7 Valenciana

recorded ca2013










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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