Classical: New Releases

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The Independent Culture
Granados/Albeniz Piano Music Martin Jones (Nimbus)

One tends to think of Spanish piano music as fleeting or Impressionistic and much of it is, though contemporaries Granados and Albeniz have still built up those glimpses of their homeland into large-scale sequences - Granados's Govescas and Albeniz's massive Iberia. Yet Martin Jones's lavish and immaculately shaded accounts never once lose concentration. At a bargain price, this set is a joy. HHHH

Blackford Mirror of Perfection Bournemouth Symphony chorus and Sinfonietta (Sony)

British composer Richard Blackford aims at Mystic Minimalist territory with his oratorio reflecting the life of St Francis of Assisi. Though there's still some real substance here, Ying Huang and Bo Skovhus offer fine solo vocal lines, the Bournemouth chorus and orchestra sings and plays stirringly. At less than 40 minutes a filler could have been provided.