Latest in a series of duo-piano transcriptions of Spanish works ‘Delicias’, the title for Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow’s “Spanish delights for piano duo” is the 15th issue in their endlessly enterprising series for Divine Art. And here, whether in authentic Spain or clever pastiche, they make you wonder why the Spanish repertoire and its offshoots aren’t more eagerly embraced by virtually every musician. True, its personal and volatile idiom remains alien to several great pianists (‘I’m a Russian, not a Spanish gypsy’ – Horowitz), but at its greatest, as in Falla’s Nights in the Garden of Spain , it remains a haunting evocation, the very essence of a once exotic land.
Goldstone and Clemmow launch their recital with Chabrier’s España , a riotous tribute to the composer’s lifelong love of Spain and its women, who entranced him with their ‘sparkling smiles and that marvellous Sevillian behind that goes on turning and turning while the rest of the body seems not to turn at all.’ They’re also at their brilliant best in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol , in Saint-Saëns’s elegant take on the Spanish idiom and in their Tarrega finale, where they send you gently waltzing across the ballroom floor, for Goldstone, writing in his informative notes, ‘a whimsical encore’. Elsewhere, in Granados, Lecuona, Rodrigo and Falla, I could have wished for a higher degree of engagement. The Falla in particular cries out for a finer memory of its orchestral colour, its magic weighed down by this none the less fascinating arrangement. But all these performances are never less than richly experienced and musicianly, and Divine Art’s sound is admirably clear, leaving you to wonder what this admirable duo still have up their sleeves and their fingers.