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Like Alicia de Larrocha and many others, Xiayin Wang treats the two books of Granados’ Goyescas (composed in 1909-10 and 1911 respectively) as one large suite. Her touch is light – especially in ‘El fandango de candil’, ‘El amor y la muerte’ and the concluding ‘Serenata del espectro’ – and tempi fast: at 47 minutes this is one of the fleetest on disc, outpacing Larrocha and her Decca stablemate Nikita Magaloffby up to five minutes (although not as fast as Granados himself, in Book 1 at least, on a historical recording from Pierian).

The merits of Wang’s account are best illustrated when compared with Douglas Riva (Naxos), who also recorded the early Valses poéticos (c1894) and Allegro de concierto (1903). Riva is markedly slower and heavier-handed in almost every case. There is a beautifully natural flow to Wang’s playing and she catches the spirit of youthful Spanish ardour very nicely. In her hands, Allegro de concierto sounds like a prize-winning piece; granted Zapateado could stamp a touch harder! Chandos’ marvellous sound has depth and clarity that places this disc at the top of the pile technically, though de Larrocha’s Goyescas still retains primacy.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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