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  • chrisdumigan

Angel and Celedonio Romero : Granados : 12 Danzas Espanolas : CD

GRANADOS : 12 Danzas Espanolas (Minueto, Oriental, Zarabanda, Villanesca, Andaluza, Jota, Valenciana, Asturiana, Mazurka, Danza Triste, Zambra, and Arabesca)

Telarc : CD 80216

Originally recorded in 1991, by two of the world’s greatest classical guitarists, Angel and his father, Celedonio Romero, part of the world famous Romero family of guitarists, here present a brilliant, idiomatic rendition of the music of their own countrymen. Originally for piano solo, the arrangement onto 2 guitars has certainly brought the color and variety of Granados’ vision.

A child prodigy, Granados began composing at the age of 16 and vowed that he would create music that would occupy an important place in his own country. The 12 Dances, were very well received and gave Granados his first acclaim as a composer. He sought to express the true harmonies and spirit of Spain in these pieces and moreover incorporated the exotic rhythms and eloquent melodies of Castille, Andalusia, and Aragon into the musical language of Grieg, Chopin, and Liszt. Furthermore, in their new guise the arrangements of Angel retain the original vividness and complexity of Granados’ compositions,

Many of these pieces will be known to the classical music listener, as several have been used before in a multitude of places, and indeed have been arranged for a huge amount of differing groups of musicians, such is their popularity, but somehow hearing them on two guitars seems peculiarly apt.

So we have the very famous No5 (Andaluza), here getting a slightly more sedate rendition than I have heard before, but that actually works really well. The VIllanesca (No4) is another well – known work that sounds really beautiful on this recording. The only one I must confess that isn’t as wonderful as another version, is the stunningly beautiful No2 ( Oriental) which isn’t as good as the legendary Presti – Lagoya version, but then again, that was such a monumental performance , that I don’t think anyone’s version has ever beaten it! As for the remainder, every track is a standout one.

The music itself is very varied, with every Danza sounding utterly different from its predecessor, and is a wonderful glance into Granados’ musical world, and it is only sad that his life ended so tragically early. Therefore I can only state that this clearly recorded set of duets, although recorded in the 90s is still one of the leading versions, and is a fine tribute to the late Celedonio Romero, and is a must for any lovers of this repertoire.

Chris Dumigan

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