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Louise Bessette

Reflections on Spain


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La grande pianiste Louise Bessette honor?e
Louise Bessette presents: Messiaen, Les oiseaux
Louise Bessette - 30 ans de carriere - Le parcours
En Harmonie
1 Lecuona: I. Cordoba  
2 Lecuona: II. Andalucia  
3 Lecuona: III. Alhambra  
4 Lecuona: IV. Gitanerias  
5 Lecuona: V. Guadalquivir  
6 Lecuona: VI. Malaguena  
7 Mompou: La fuente y la campana  
8 Albeniz: Tango op. 164  
9 Turina: I. Zambra  
10 Turina: II. Danza de la seduccion  
11 Turina: III. Danza ritual  
12 Turina: IV. Generalife  
13 Turina: V. Sacro-Monte  
14 Marco: Solea  
15 Evangelista: Nuevas monodias espanolas  
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An exhilarating and elegant concert pianist, Louise Bessette stands out as one of the preeminent performers of music from our times. After having devoted her previous recording to Oliver Messiaen pianist Louise Bessette takes on a totally different musical journey, with a program of Spanish works.

Spain: 16th-century superpower, cradle of flamenco, and birthplace of numerous painters and architects. But is it possible to capture the true essence of Spain, which still inspires Hispanic and foreign composers alike? Can one extract a particular sound or colour from its 17 autonomous communities, 50 provinces and 8,112 municipalities? Should one even try? In the preface to his 20 Cantos populares españoles, Joaquín Nin himself compared Spain's then 47 provinces to a 47-note scale that possessed the power to express every shade of joy, sadness, love and hope.

Although Ernesto Lecuona (1896–1963) is considered the most important Cuban composer of the early 20th century, some of his most successful piano works, including Andalucia (Suite Española), were inspired by Spanish folk music. His melodic creativity, frequently complex compositional style that favoured an agile left hand (Lecuona's own performances were particularly appreciated in this respect), and always interesting harmonic structures won him the admiration of many of his contemporaries, both in the U.S. (he gave the Cuban premier of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) and in Europe. Indeed, Ravel declared that, "I think Malaguena is more beautiful and melodious than my Bolero."

The collection opens with the melancholy "Cordoba," followed by "Andalucia," which exudes both sensuality and vitality, driven by a dancing ostinato accompaniment in the left hand. "Alhambra" paints an almost impressionistic picture of the palace built in the 13th century for the Sultan Mohammed Al-Ahamar on the heights of Granada; the palace is legendary for the opulence of its halls and gardens. "Gitanerias" is reminiscent of a fiery flamenco, while "Guadalquivir" sounds like an homage to the river that flows through Andalusia. The suite closes with the bewitching "Malaguena," which has since been reworked into numerous other forms.

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