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When you compare his output of solo piano music with
that of Enrique Granados or Isaac Albéniz, the quantity of
Manuel de Falla’s piano works might seem to be minimal.
But after hearing “Manuel de Falla: Complete Solo Piano
Music,” a 1996 CD release on the BIS label, I recognized
that despite a reputation for orchestral works, he also
left a significant body of works for the piano.

First of all, it should be noted that based upon my research,
this disc isn’t quite complete. Examples of omissions would
be the “Pasacalle torero” from 1900, or the three dances
de Falla arranged from his “El Sombrero de Tres Picos” ballet.
Nevertheless, I suppose that for most listeners, the more
than 78 minutes of music on this disc would be
“complete enough.”

The pieces on the CD were allegedly composed between
1896 and 1935, and ranged from works reminiscent of
Chopin, such as the “Nocturno” written in 1894 and
“Vals Capricho” from 1900 to the more ambitious
“Fantasia Baetica” of 1919, dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein
who performed its premiere. The works were arranged
chronologically on this disc, and Impressionistic touches
became increasingly apparent. By the way, de Falla
(1876-1946) was an admirer and friend of Claude Debussy.

This is a small, but important body of work by one of
Spain’s greatest composers. I don’t recall having heard
it before and therefore jumped at the opportunity to
listen to this CD.

I was also previously unfamiliar with pianist
Miguel Baselga (1966 – ) and to my ears, he played
fabulously, capturing the requisite Spanish flavor. As usual,
the sound engineering on this BIS recording was spot-on,
and a booklet of helpful liner notes in Spanish, English,
German, and French was included.

Those who love the piano music of Isaac Albéniz,
Enrique Granados, Frederic Mompou and others, need
to familiarize themselves with this music, and hearing
this CD is a great way to start.

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