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A Spanish Sojourn / Andrew Rangell

Release Date: 03/03/2023
Label: Steinway & Sons Catalog #: 30212
Composer:  Ernesto Halffter ,  Federico Mompou ,  Enrique Granados ,  Isaac Albeniz Performer:  Andrew Rangell

Ernesto Halffter and Federico Mompou, both of whom lived through most of the 20th century, began their creative lives within the living shadow of Spain's enduring and revered masters: Granados, Albeniz, Falla. The present recording is an excursion by acclaimed pianist Andew Rangell into the colorful and wonderfully distinctive world of these two lesser-known musicians, while including an appreciative nod to Granados and Albeniz.

Album Credits:
Recorded May, 2022 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport, Massachusetts.
Producer: Andrew Rangell
Recording Engineer: Tom Stephenson
Mastering/Editing: Luke Damrosch
Piano Technician: Christine Lovgren
Piano: Steinway Model D
Read more #586518 (New York)

Executive Producer: Jon Feidner
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Cover Image: Two sculptures by Patrocino Barela (c. 1900-1964, Mexican-American wood carver, Taos, New Mexico) Private Collection. Photo by Andrew Rangell
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford

R E V I E W:

This attractive release (in demonstration-quality sound) combines one each, of works by two familiar Spanish composers (Enrique Granados' Goyescas, Book 1 no. 4; and Isaac Albeniz' Iberia, Book 2 no. 3), with several works by two less-well-known 20th-century Spanish composers, Federico Mompou and Ernesto Halffter. Halffter's name is new to me, but his work is both idiomatic and pianistic.

The album starts with Halffter's lilting, poignant "Homage to Federico Mompou," which deserves to find a place in the standard repertory. The following track is Halffter's "L'Espagnolade," which is a dance-themed real workout for the pianist. The Granados and Albeniz works are found in the middle of the program. Among the Mompou works are his 19-minute "Variations on a Theme of Chopin," which no self-respecting piano fan will want to miss. The last track is an alternate take of Halffter's Mompou homage. (I guess nobody could decide which take was better.)

Andrew Rangell is one of those rare pianists whose specialty appears to be…not having a specialty, such is the "small-'c'-catholic" span of his artistic ambitions—from Bach to Charles Ives to Bill Evans. His recitals throughout the United States have included ten cycles of the complete sequence of Beethoven's 32 sonatas. BTW, if you like this recording, Rangell has about 20 other recordings on the Steinway label.

-- John Marks, Positive Feedback Read less