Miguel Baselga’s on-going traversal of the piano music by Isaac Albéniz has shown that there is much more to the composer than the four books of Iberia usually regarded as his crowning achievement. The present recording largely concentrates on the early production, including Marcha militar, the very first piece that Albéniz is known to have composed, at the age of nine. With the Six Mazurkas de salon and L’Automne-Valse Baselga also gives us a taste of the salon-type music that Albéniz often included in his own recital programmes during the 1880s and 1890s. The mazurkas were written for (and named after) six of Albéniz’ piano pupils, daughters of important upper-class families in Madrid. The most familiar work here is Chants d’Espagne, partly because two of its five movements also appear in another work, Suite Espagnole, and partly because of various transcriptions for one or more guitars. With a specific reference to Córdoba, the fourth movement of Chants, Albéniz himself remarked: ‘That music of youth, with its little sins and absurdities… appears to me like the carvings in the Alhambra, those peculiar arabesques that say nothing with their turns and shapes, but which are like the air, like the sun, like the blackbirds or like the nightingales of its gardens.’ The programme also includes a transcription published in 2009 of a phonograph roll from 1903, with Albéniz himself improvising at the piano, and the humorous Yvonne en visite!, in which the composer describes in music the nervousness of a small girl forced by her mother to play for him. All of this is performed with relish by Baselga, who in reviews of the previous album of the series has been described as ‘a pianist of great range and sophistication’ (MusicWeb International) and ‘a musician who unites poetry and lyricism with the Mediterranean light depicted by Albéniz’ .
"...I enjoyed this CD and would recommend it to all enthusiasts of Isaac Albeniz’s piano music. It presents an excellent balance of masterpieces, salon music of the very best quality and some unknown quantities. The playing is superb. Miguel Baselga is always sympathetic to this music ... The sound quality is excellent as would be expected from BIS.
John France - Musicweb-international.com - 12 May 2012