Published in 1973 – marginally truncated and harmonically changed from the manuscript – Enrique Granados's 1894 Piano Quintet, it's been said, is the happiest G-minor you can have. A little masterpiece that doesn't outstay its welcome, its three movements – passingly Brahmsian (without the length), occasionally Saint-Saëns-like pianistically – add up to a compact, determined novella. Glowingly beautiful is the folkloristic central Allegretto, an exotically sinuous tableau in D-minor/A-major redolent of Moorish scenes and gipsy glances. The first movement features an accompanied piano cadenza (tremolo/unison strings). Collectors will remember Thomas Rajna's old analogue recording on CRD with the Alberni Quartet.
Conceived on a larger scale, cyclically bred in the César Franck style, prefaced by a plainchant Fuga lenta (written last), and sampling a darker G-minor vein than Granados, Joaquín Turina's four-movement Piano Quintet makes big statements cogently argued. By any reckoning, the Fugue's climax is impressive, gritty and basaltic without being either German or French in mood. The strength and symphonic follow-through of the second movement, post-Brahmsian momentum and passion at its best, makes one wonder why the work isn't more mainstream. Opening rhetorically, the Finale is brilliantly argued, a virtuoso affair for all. Turina, studying with Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum, gave the first two performances of the work in Paris in 1907. Post-greenroom for the second time – wine, oysters and cigars in prospect – the spectacle of himself, Falla and Albéniz strolling along an autumnal Champs-Élysées, enthusing about their “little homeland” and the idea of Spanish music with “a view to Europe”, must have been a vignette to behold.
Dedicated to Rodrigo, ‘Caliope’, “maturity in brevity”, closes the 1942 collection Las musas de Andalucía. Calliope was the Greek muse of eloquence and epic poetry, the goddess of high harmony and beautiful voice. Turina gives us solemn words and sepulchral shadows, a hymn lime-washed in old colours seen through glass.
Javier Perianes's recordings have led us to expect exceptional things from him – a connoisseur who plays with sweep and chest voice. In Spanish music he discerns not merely beauty, landscape and evocación but an architectural undercurrent many diffuse or miss in favour of ‘fire’. This latest release, albeit on the short side, is outstanding. The pianism thrills in its physicality yet sensitivity – not a chord weakly balanced, not a unison out of kilter, not a run without shape, not a melody without soul or space. Quartet-in Residence in charge of the collection of decorated Stradivariuses at the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Cuarteto Quiroga integrates, supports, and takes the occasional spotlight with authority, attack and style.
Martin Sauer and René Möller produce and engineer a predictably big German sound. No shortage of detail, gutsy string presence, and a beefy piano image benefiting from clean bass and mid-range focus. Good booklet note from Tatiana Aráez Santiago.