Hugh Canning
The Sunday Times
July 2015

Concertos by the two great names of Spanish piano music are not among their most familiar or finest works. The older composer, Albéniz (1860-1909), wrote his Concierto fantástico and Rapsodia Española in his twenties, still under the influence of Chopin and, especially, Schumann—it's no coincidence that the 'Fantastic' is in Schumannesque A minor—but they are agreeable youthful works, the rhapsody more obviously imbued with Spanish folk music. The Granados is, in fact, a reconstruction by the solo pianist of a fragmentary work, begun in the 1910, that consists of only 250 bars of music. Mestre's completion runs to almost 36 minutes, thanks to adaptations of the composer's Danza española No 2 and Allegro de concierto as the second and third movements. Mestre plays it with flair and the conviction of an evangelist, and is beguiling in the central allegretto. If neither of these works is a 'great' piano concerto, both fall attractively within the rubric of Hyperion's successful Romantic Piano Concertos series, of which this is a remarkable 65th volume.