The Spanish Masters – Works of ALBENIZ, GRANADOS & FALLA played by the composers with performers of today – Zenph Studios

by | Nov 21, 2011 | Classical Reissue Reviews

The Spanish Masters – ALBENIZ: La Vega, Improvisations Nos. 1, 2 & 3; GRANADOS: Piano Sonata No. 9, Improvisation on “El Pelele,” Danza Espanolas Nos. 7 & 10; FALLA: El Pano Moruno, Seguidilla Muricana, Asturiana, Jota, Nana, Cancion, Polo, Cancion del Fuego Fatuo from El Amor Brujo, Soneto a Cordoba – Manual de Falla, piano (1928)/ Albeniz, piano (1912)/ Granados (1912) performing with Milton Laufer, pianist; Zuill Bailey cello, Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano – Zenph Re-Performance ZS-1001 *****:
Zenph has moved ahead with their unique software from doing computer re-performances of historical solo piano recordings of the past by Glenn Gould, Art Tatum, Rachmaninoff and Oscar Peterson to mixing restored re-performances of piano accompaniments of the past with live artists performing today in new chamber music settings, recorded in stereo. Next on their plate will be other instruments such as doublebass, saxophone and drums, but for now we have these unique pairings of three historic Spanish composers playing piano with a second pianist, a cellist, and a soprano of today.
The contemporary cellist Zuill Bailey plays six of the selections from the Siete Conciones Populares Espanolas, together with a processed re-performance of Falla’s accompaniment for a soprano in Paris in 1928, who has been deleted and replaced by an instrumental transcription made and played by Bailey in the same selections. Then modern pianist Milton Rubén plays together with a re-performance of three improvisations recorded by Albeniz on Edison discs in 1903. Next are four 1912 recordings made by composer Enrique Granados—the first his own transcription of a Scarlatti harpsichord sonata. There are solo piano recordings played back on a modern instrument but without another performer in duo. Lastly we have nine songs by Falla sung by Isabel Bayradkarian, accompanied by Falla at the piano, also originally recorded in 1928.
Zenph made the new stereo recordings in a chamber environment, not unlike the original spaces in which the historic recordings were made. Rather than using the Yamaha Reproducing Piano as in their earlier releases, they had their special reproducing system installed in a 1909 Steinway concert grand, probably very similar to the pianos in the original recordings. The results are of a piece—one would never realize the huge distances of time that separate the piano accompaniments from the soloists. It is unfortunate that Sony no longer issues multichannel SACDs of the Zenph series, and Zenph has decided not to offer the binaural version on this one, but a hi-res two channel version will be available from one of the hi-res download sites.
—John Sunier

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