Alicia de Larrocha has been playing these works, the greatest in the repertoire of Spanish piano music, all her life – one of her very first recordings, 40 years ago, was of some of the Goyescas, and I had the pleasure of welcoming her first Iberia ten years after that (10/65); and immersed as she was from her earliest childhood in the authentic tradition (her mother, her aunt and she herself were all trained at Granados’s own school, of which she later became director), she has several times been asked to re-record them. She once said, rather wistfully, that she didn’t consider herself a specialist but that Spanish music was what the public constantly demanded of her. One can sympathize with her if she feels inescapably cast in this mould – but then she shouldn’t be so wonderfully persuasive in it! She employs plenty of subtle rubato but possesses the ability to make it sound as natural as breathing; yet she can also preserve a stimulating tautness of rhythm.
Glyndebourne has brought to light a long-overlooked winner in Donizetti’s Poliuto, delivering ‘a superb musical performance’ (The Telegraph) offering ‘lucent accounts of the principal roles and an incandescent London Philharmonic Orchestra, under Enrique Mazzola’ (New York Times). This first ever professional UK staging of the story of third-century Armenian martyr St Polyeuctus features a ‘trio of world-class young singers’ with Fabiano, winner of the Beverly Sills and Richard Tucker awards, displaying a ‘thrilling, vibrant tone’ in the title role, Martínez providing Paolina with ‘pinging coloratura’ and Golovatenko giving a ‘radiant-toned’ voice to Severo. (The Guardian)