José Gonzalo Zulaica, better known as Aita (or Padre) Donostia, was a Basque folklorist, as well as a gifted pianist and composer. His keyboard collections reflect a lifelong interest in the folk music of his native region, as well as an appreciation of the piano works of Mozart, Debussy, and Ravel, which he loved to play. These influences combine peculiarly in Donostia's music, in an ambiguous style that alternates between naïveté and sophistication, not unlike the studied simplicity of Poulenc. For this 2003 release, Donostia's complete works for piano are conveniently divided between two CDs: the youthful Euskal Preludioak on Disc One, and the mature Mosaicos and Piezas Infantiles on Disc Two. The early pieces hold a certain salon charm, and their simple, pretty melodies are swathed with arpeggios and other decorous filigree; Donostia rarely goes beyond conventional tonality, except for occasional whole tone touches and added-note harmonies. The later works are more adventurous, with sudden key changes, spicier chords, and unexpected intervals that seem whimsical, wayward, and sometimes exotic. Ricardo Requejo performs Donostia's music with sensitivity and élan; with Marina Pintos in the four-hand Piezas Infantiles, the duo plays with fine coordination and considerable humor. Claves provides clean digital sound, with natural depth and resonance.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Preludios vascos (21) for piano|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Mosaicos, for piano|
|Piezas infantiles, for piano, 4 hands (in 3 Books)|