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NOVEMBER 2014, Sebastian Stanley: El amor y la muerte EMEC E-085

NOVEMBER 2014, Sebastian Stanley: El amor y la muerte EMEC E-085

By RAY PICOT 

This is the first of two recordings of Spanish music that Sebastian Miguel Stanley has made for EMEC, and on the basis of this recording alone he is worth getting to know. Born in Andalucia in 1984 and coming to England when he was 4, Sebastian graduated from the RCM with distinction in 2008 and has since been touring internationally with great success. Listening through this recording it seems that this young pianist has absorbed much of native Spain in his interpretations, and to my ears has already come far. What draws me to his playing is his unrushed approach, and ability to bring out the drama and grandeur of the music, without loosing the natural rhythm and pulse of the music. This is very well demonstrated in the first two pieces on the disc by Granados, 'El amor y la muerte' and the ever popular 'El pelele', both from Goyescas. Granted this is familiar fare to most readers but he eschews personalising his interpretations and demonstrating how much he has learned from his illustrious predecessors, without sounding a pale copy. The quixotic pianism of Albeniz’s Iberia clearly appeals to his temperament as gives us subtle and well-crafted performances of 'Evocation', 'El puerto' and the joyous 'Fete-Dieu a Seville'. It was a very clever idea to end the recital with the Variations on a theme of Chopin by Mompou, a piece with a curious history but nonetheless well worth knowing. Despite its length and very different temperament it is a wonderful piece from the composer’s maturity, which plays to all his strengths. Through subtle pianism, Sebastian brings out the work’s innate dynamism, so different to what precedes it, but no less compelling and satisfying. It is a work of beguiling charm, and one which clearly appeals to this talented young musician’s sensibilities. To end I must praise his very well-written and informative booklet notes which clearly demonstrate his love and understanding of this repertoire. 

 

 

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