Esteban Elizondo Iriarte

Luís Urteaga Iturrioz: Organ Works

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Luís Urteaga-Iturrioz was a modest Spanish church musician and composer for the organ who flourished in the early decades of the twentieth century. Yet a superficial hearing of his music might date him somewhat earlier, perhaps to the generation that produced César Franck, since Urteaga-Iturrioz's religious music is highly chromatic, densely contrapuntal, and as somber, brooding, and languid as anything composed in the wake of Richard Wagner. That said, most of Urteaga-Iturrioz's organ works appear to have been composed for liturgical needs, rather than as secular art music, and several of his short pieces were written to be played on the harmonium, the instrument most commonly available in small Spanish churches. However, this 2006 recording by Esteban Elizondo Iriarte presents Urteaga-Iturrioz's music in splendid fashion on the 1868 Cavaillé-Coll organ in the gothic Church of San Vicente, San Sebastián; everything feels grand in sonority and scope, from the Ofrenda al Beato Pio X, which was composed without a pedal part for the convenience of harmonium players, to the sweeping Marcha religiosa for full organ, the longest and most inventive composition on the program and most akin to Franck's works in its polyphonic variety, ardent Romanticism, and extended form. Aeolus provides exceptionally clear and resonant reproduction for this recording, making it a pleasure to hear, even if the music is not consistently interesting or revelatory.

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