To those raised on Alicia de Larrocha's bravura recordings of Falla, the readings by Spanish pianist Daniel Ligorio heard here will seem determinedly cool. Aided (or partnered in crime, depending on your perspective) by sound design that smooths out the piano's dynamic range and emphasizes a thudding, percussive sound, Ligorio offers a very studied Andaluza (track 10) from the Cuatro piezas españolas, for example, and even the showpiece arrangement "Ritual Fire Dance Music" from El amor brujo comes off as more Stravinsky than roots-Spanish. (It is to be hoped that Ligorio will include the harpsichord concerto in his survey of Falla's keyboard music.) His playing will not be to everyone's tastes, but the program he has selected fits his emphasis on the modernist traits of Falla's style. It's a mixed bag, but filled with fresh products. The three opening works come from early in Falla's career and display a Romantic idiom with what emerges, in Ligorio's readings, as an unusual emphasis on rhythmic elements. After a fairly early and somewhat mechanistic Allegro de concierto come two works of homage, one to Debussy and the second to Paul Dukas. The latter, written in 1935, contains music as dissonant as anything Falla wrote; it is a thorny, deeply felt work that casts its shadow over the rest of the music here. Certainly there is room for a variety of interpretations when it comes to the music of this complex composer, and Ligorio has added a novel one to the choices available.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Spanish pieces (4), for piano, G. 37|
|El Amor brujo, ballet for mezzo-soprano & orchestra in 1 act, G. 68 (revised version)|