Stephen Hough's new "Spanish Album' is delightful! The contents are grouped by composers with one group being the "real" Spaniards such as Antonio Soler, Enrique Granados (I just love his "Valses poeticos"--Stephen really plays it wonderfully!), Issac Albeniz and Federico Mompou. The next group is "The French" with selections in the so-called "Spanish Style" and the last group is called "The Other" which are Spanish styled works by composers such as Franz Xaver Schwarwenka (I adore his work), Walter Niemann and one by Stephen Hough himself!
Of the first group, I loved Soler's Sonata in F sharp minor--it's a work that is filled with so-much 18th century grace and charm--Stephen certainly plays it that way' his trills and ornamentations are wonderful! The four Mompou works, "impresiones intimas" are wonderfully intimate and beautiful. Of the second group, Debussy's preludes from his 1st and 2nd book are great and I particularly loved the Ravel piece "Piece en forme de Habanera"--it is so great and rhythmic that I felt the urge to get up and dance! Of the last group, Stephen Hough's "On Falla" is a stunner. It is filled with loads of Spanish rhythms and fire--it is splendid!
In conclusion, I loved this album! Through out all of it, Hough plays with GORGEOUS tone and with a keen sense of rhythm. The combination of this album's contents along with Stephen Hough's exquisite playing evoke, for me, fantasies of Spain with its star lit nights along with its sun drenched hot afternoons. In fact viewing the cover illustration which is called "Gazpacho" and listening to the album, I had the strong urge to make some Gazpacho; however, in my part of the country we are experiencing some very cold weather--I think , I'll save that urge until Spring!