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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Hi, hbs! This is one of two pieces from "Iberia" that I worked on to some degree in the past (the other one was "El Polo"). It was fascinating to listen once again to all those exquisite harmonizations as the piece progresses, and I fully appreciate the work it takes to assimilate them into a coherent rendition. If I had to make one general comment regarding this performance, though, it is that you have the dog under too tight a leash, so to speak -- it sort of cries out for more abandon, more freedom of flow. And I fully understand that this is in the interests of getting the notes right, or most of them, but right now it still sounds like a definite "work in progress" rather than a finished product. But IMO the necessary elements to provide an organic sense of style are there -- and you DO have it memorized -- a major achievement in its own right -- and so I think that it is possible.
Several years back, pianist Daniel del Pino played a solo recital that included another selection from Iberia, and I was able to have a short post-concert discussion with him regarding Albeniz. I was surprised that HE volunteered the observation that Albeniz's piano writing had taken such a quantum leap in complexity from his previous efforts that he must have had some help in writing this utter "magnum opus" -- surprised, because I, too, had always thought the same thing, and had never come across any satisfactory explanation. Personally -- and I think the same was true of Granados -- the marked increase in complexity and color stemmed from Albeniz's interest in writing the quintessential Spanish Opera, and the musical perspective required to make that happen. He never was able to stage anything, but I do believe his study of operatic writing in a general sense was responsible for the immense Iberia contribution to solo piano. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.
Thanks, Tim, for your compliments! As far as my keeping the piece on a leash, believe me, I wish I could play it with more abandon, (and sometimes I do when nobody is listening), problem is that then I tend to tense up and the tough passages tend to "choke up", so to speak, and I need to be careful not to re-injure my elbows). My teacher also wants me to work on my voicing because it was too muddled with too many notes so I needed to be more mindful of which notes are the important ones to bring out and which ones are just background. I've done at least one or maybe two prior recordings of this piece in my You Tube channel, can't remember off the top of my head if they are public or unlisted, at least one of them should be public, so maybe you could see a difference. I'm afraid I don't know much about operatic stuff so I can't really comment on those, rather, I tend to think of Albeniz as the "Spanish Rachmaninoff" with a lot of Debussy mixed in for good measure. I did watch a documentary (in Spanish) in which they really talk a lot about his operatic efforts, I wish it had English subtitles. I recall reading somewhere (maybe in these boards?) that Albeniz wrote the piano score making it so difficult so to [censored] off the pianist (Blanche Selva) and I think on the documentary they mention that he also wanted to make sure that no woman could perform it, and ironically, there are lots of women that have successfully played it (Alicia, Rosa Sabater, etc). Anyway, thanks for your compliments and feedback. I'm also reviewing El Albaicin (I posted this a year or two ago), and hope to review others I've done in the past and learn new ones. That will keep me very busy for a looooong time!