David Saemann | 04/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an almost entirely successful orchestration of Iberia. I had hesitated to buy it, because I had heard Marin Alsop's performance of Peter Breiner's orchestration of some of Brahms's Hungarian Dances, which I felt was good but not totally idiomatic. I have no such reservations about the Albeniz. There is much delicacy and subtlety here, yet no dull spots. If you are used to the Arbos orchestration of some of these pieces, I still think Breiner's is worth your while. And I cannot say enough about Igor Golovschin's performance. Performing a new piece is always a test of a conductor's prowess, and Golovschin passes it with flying colors. The solo work in particular reveals admirable taste and flexibility. The sound engineering is very good, too. I only hope, probably forlornly, that other conductors will take up Breiner's excellent orchestration."
Colorful Orchestrations of Albeniz piano music
J. Poss | Pahrump, Nevada | 02/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording contains colorful orchestrations by Peter Breiner of Albeniz' great piano collection Iberia. From the opening bars of Evocacion for solo oboe and then strings, you feel you're in the beautiful Spanish countryside and the sun is shinning warm on your face. I enjoyed these evocative translations into orchestral music. Peter Breiner uses a myriad of instrumentation including guitars in some of the peices. His choices are always appropriate and sometimes maybe a little excessive.
The recording was good, but the Mosfilm studio where this recording took place has very little reverberation and the stereo balance seems to favor the left side, which maybe the conductors fault. I would suggest that the recording engineers use a different more reverberant venue in the future and pay a little more attention to orchestral balance. I very slight tweak to my balance control helped the balance issue.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable disc."
Terrific orchestration of Latin themes!
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have a sweeping orchestral version of Albéniz' "Iberia," (a reference to the Iberian Peninsula), defty performed by an assembly, The Moscow Orchestra, which was well up to the job. The conducting of Igor Golovschin was spot-on in this instance -- he kept the orchestra nice and tight and with notable attention to the details.
"Iberia" was a work in progress over three years, the final effort of the composition being completed in 1908. Each "Book" musically depicts a different facet of this spectacular region of the planet.
Albéniz dedicated Book I to the widow of composer Ernest Chausson who had tragically died in a bicycle accident in 1899. Book II was dedicated to pianist Blanche Selva. The Third Book was dedicated to Margeurite Hasselmans. The final Book was dedicated to Madame Pierre Lalo, daughter-in-law of composer Edouard Lalo.
This music is of the sort which is a joy to the ear. The Spanish themes are quite broad, flowing in nature and in places, they clearly allude to chords of the Spanish guitar. This is program music at its finest, very melodic, and featuring obligatory Latin meters.
Albéniz once studied orchestration under Paul Dukas (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) in Paris and one can detect the magic of Dukas throughout the work which seemed destined for orchestration. Some parts were orchestrated early on but the first full score for orchestra was yielded by Paul Breiner. This CD features Breiner's orchestration.
If you are fairly new to classical music, (or to Albéniz) then this would be a great place to begin your serious studies. This is a DDD recording (total time 76:46) and the Naxos producers have generated a great-sounding CD. Highly recommended!"