I am finding your kind messages back from some days in the country, so please excuse the delay.
Bravo! I just listened to your Iberia pieces and cannot tell you how much I enjoyed them. You play this music with a wonderful artistry, bringing out its changing scenes, moods and colors. Albeniz writes with underlying Classical and Romantic styles in Spanish idiom, but also manages to create incredible atmospherics at times using an Impressionistic brush. This is one of the things that captivates me about the Late Romanticists. They are able to eclectically intertwine styles to produce startling, refreshing, and lushly opulent music such as that which you present here. Marvelous!
Thank you David ! Well, I've matured this music for decades. Actually, in France we pass an examination for the end of the highschool studies (before to go to the university), called 'baccalaureat'. So, for this exam I took music as an option, and, besides the performance of one or two pieces on an instrument we had to listen and to answer questions on certain great pieces of the repertoire. This year (it was... in 1975), there were, among others Ravel's concerto in G, and the first book of Iberia. The latter was a discovery for me and since that time I kept this music into my heart... Yes, it is total piano, but, more important, total music, with a supreme mastery of melody, harmony and rythm, both very specific of a part of the world (Spain, mainly Andalucia) and universal. The only defect is the technical difficulty, which prevent many pianists to dare to play it !
An amazing achievement Francois ! This makes you definitely one of he best non-professional pianists on the site.
Thank you Chris, you're too kind !
I won't bitch you about some spots of trouble in the Fete-Dieu - we only need to remember that Albeniz himself was in despair about playing Iberia. And in souch religious fervour and mayhem some blood may be shed, it almost goes with the territory.
I did however spot some read errors that I need to check out (they could be my errors that is why I bother about them).
There may be some read errors (I played the pieces by heart), in addition to slips and missing notes...
Evocacion and El Puerto are splendid, although I would like them just a bit more sultry. Not that you lack anything in rubato and expression, but it is all rather bright and brisk (not necessarily a bad thing, and a matter of taste of course). The closing notes of the Evocacion should be short and dry, like guitar plucks, IIRC. But this sounds good too.
It's what I tried to do at the end of El Puerto, because there is an indication as 'tempo primo' or so, showing that in Albeniz' intention, these last notes had to be a reminiscence of the left-hand introduction. For Evocacion, I thought it was more a kind of vanishing echo...
I find your instrument a bit metallic in the upper register, sometimes creating an unpleasant ring. Not sure if that is to do with pedal usage or not.
Well, it's a Yamaha: nice medium, but nasal loud notes lacking depth and too bright upper register, especially when not perfectly tuned. But I was supposed to have the tuner two months after for a home concert, and I did not want to wait for such a long time to record the pieces...
Anyway, great and idiomatic playing ! I'll want to put Iberia on the music stand again now. Maybe Rondena and El Albaicin which always seem to come a bit more natural to me than the other pieces. And redo the Evocacion with its irritating slip in the climax.
Very good, I am looking forward to listening these next recordings !