Barenboim back at the keyboard
Alex Serrano | Perrysburg, Ohio United States | 06/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is so rare to find nowadays Daniel Barenboim sitting behind the keyboard in a recording studio - and even though as a conductor he has demonstrated his stronghold on the german repertoire, those of you who treasure his piano performances will find yourself more than satisfied with this new recording of Spanish repertoire. In this music over which indeed Alicia de Larrocha has so brilliantly dominated this century (with small and welcome intrusions from Artur Rubinstein), it takes a musician of great virtuosity and understanding to offer something new - and Barenboim proves himself worthy. His tempos are generally slower than Larrocha as he seemingly looks towards emphasizing the lyrical aspects of these works instead of the dance rhythms - his rendition of Rondena as hauntingly beautifull as it is will come as a shock sounding darker than the lighter approach everyone has been accostumed to. And then he offers us contrast in a highly viruosic rendition of "El corpus christi en Sevilla" - a work which very rarely gets a reading as Albeniz pushes the resources of the piano to the utmost limits - here Barenboim drives head on into the music, never losing his pace in spite of the mounting difficulties. After all this storm and brilliance of Albeniz's best works, comes us lighter music in the Suite that fills the disc. Here we do find playing comparable to de Larrocha and we must thank for the very well recorded sound and fine playing. But after hearing to Barenboim's rednditions of the first 2 books of Iberia, one can only hope for a future release of him completing the set. This is brilliant playing from a musician that has great versatility and is one of those few pianists who has made a successfull transition into conducting. And this time, from conducting to piano soloist."
Impressionist and international Albéniz.
Francisco Yanez Calvino | Santiago de Compostela, GALIZA, Spain. | 11/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've reviewed in the last week those "spanish" recordings of Iberia I think are the best: Larrocha & Sánchez; the very "classical" version the first one and a very racial performing the second.
As a masterwork, Iberia accepts many possible performances and possibilities, of course because of his complexity and the very rich possibilities of his technical writing and the multiple melodies, some of them based on spanish popular tunes.
What's new in this performance? Mainly, the fact of opening a way in Iberia's interpretation, much more "international" and much more influenced by the impressionism which Albéniz knew very well from the own Debussy's works.
Daniel Barenboim is a wonderful pianist, among the best in history, and he has a very long experience in playing germanic music, since Bach to Mozart, from Beethoven to Brahms; and with a very long experience in playing piano music from different countries, styles and periods. His relation with french music is well known, much more than with the spanish, something I think is felt clearly in this CD. It's hard to find an Iberia with this amazing technical control, with this fingers' precision, with this master use of the pedal, the echoes, the silences... Barenboim really explores Iberia as pure music; of course with the presence of the popular and folk tunes, but over all from the point of view of a technical jewel of the piano literature.
It's a shame Daniel Barenboim didn't record the second book, which I think we'll never have on Barenboim's hands, as far as I know. I have another recording of some this pieces performed by Daniel Barenboim in the argentinian Teatro Colón, on his 50th anniversary as performer, released by EuroArts together with a documentary about his life. In my opinion, this versions are really very different, much more objective this studio recording from Germany and much more personal, subjective, intimate and magical the live recording from Argentina. In his live recording from the Teatro Colón, Barenboim treats the piece as a really personal poetry, full of lyric, echoes and silences which take us to a really unknown view of this piece.
The recording is technically very good and the booklet very interesting too.
As conclusion, with Larrocha (Decca, DDD) and Sánchez (Ensayo / Brilliant), a must have to know Iberia from some of the most interesting points of view.