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Delightful pieces of music spanning the centuries. I particularly like the first piece by Soler - very relaxing and unusual. There are 3 main sections - The Spaniards, The Frenchmen and The Others. Each section is delightful in its own particular way. Have played the disc many times so far.
This is an excellent album from start to finish. Most of the pieces selected were composed by Spanish and French composers and are played superbly by Stephen Hough. I'll certainly be listening to the 'Spanish Album' quite often in the future. Recommended.
72 minutos de un álbum de sabor hispánico de la mano de Stephen Hough (piano Steinway). Tenemos una combinación de compositores hispanos, franceses y otros que rinden sus homenajes a nuestra música, el propio Hough incluido. Es tanta la gracia y calidez del pianista que es fácil rendirse al arte del británico que se caracteriza por su gran sentido del color oscuro y exótico, su estado de alerta rítmica y su tremendo virtuosismo que hace que otros pianistas no nacionales como Hamelin (también en Hyperion) suenen fríos a su lado. Las tomas de sonido de 2005 son soberbias.
Stephen Hough's new "Spanish Album' is delightful! The contents are grouped by composers with one group being the "real" Spaniards such as Antonio Soler, Enrique Granados (I just love his "Valses poeticos"--Stephen really plays it wonderfully!), Issac Albeniz and Federico Mompou. The next group is "The French" with selections in the so-called "Spanish Style" and the last group is called "The Other" which are Spanish styled works by composers such as Franz Xaver Schwarwenka (I adore his work), Walter Niemann and one by Stephen Hough himself!
Of the first group, I loved Soler's Sonata in F sharp minor--it's a work that is filled with so-much 18th century grace and charm--Stephen certainly plays it that way' his trills and ornamentations are wonderful! The four Mompou works, "impresiones intimas" are wonderfully intimate and beautiful. Of the second group, Debussy's preludes from his 1st and 2nd book are great and I particularly loved the Ravel piece "Piece en forme de Habanera"--it is so great and rhythmic that I felt the urge to get up and dance! Of the last group, Stephen Hough's "On Falla" is a stunner. It is filled with loads of Spanish rhythms and fire--it is splendid!
In conclusion, I loved this album! Through out all of it, Hough plays with GORGEOUS tone and with a keen sense of rhythm. The combination of this album's contents along with Stephen Hough's exquisite playing evoke, for me, fantasies of Spain with its star lit nights along with its sun drenched hot afternoons. In fact viewing the cover illustration which is called "Gazpacho" and listening to the album, I had the strong urge to make some Gazpacho; however, in my part of the country we are experiencing some very cold weather--I think , I'll save that urge until Spring!
This is music making utterly without pretension. Hough's cosmic simplicity lets him present with jewelsmith precision a delectable art, something consistently true with this artist. It's always rewarding, and Spanish Album is heaped with it. Moreover, his connoisseur taste runs naturally to musical jewels - pieces neglected or not thought of, and possessing a striking and shimmering newness. The Soler sonata is elegant, spirited, the Mompou sleek and heartbreaking. There's a real wealth of fine music in this collection. Niemann's silken 'Evening in Seville' astonishes anew with each hearing. The fortuitous aspects of Stephen Hough's musical art are the cleanheartedness of his playing, which is to say his spirit, and an uncorrupted intelligence to warm it - rivals together indeed for preeminence in this superb CD. I never tire listening to it, it always welcomes me to refresh. Hough engages the mysteries of music with dire success and rampant beauty. Lucky we are!