Xavier de Maistre
with Lucero Tena, castanets
All the colours and the warmth of Spain are present in Xavier de Maistre’s album Serenata Española, a collection of fourteen works originally composed for guitar, piano or orchestra by Spanish composers influenced by folk melodies: Enrique Granados, Isaac Albéniz, Antonio Soler, Manuel de Falla, Francisco Tárrega and many others. Even though the influence of European music is clearly reflected in works as Antonio Soler’s Sonata in D major and Mateo Pérez de Albéniz’s Sonata in D major, the nuance of the present recording is unmistakably Spanish.
Accomplished harpist Xavier de Maistre is joined in seven pieces of Serenata Española by famous Flamenco dancer and castanets player Lucero Tena, who he met after a concert in Madrid in 2015. Castanets and harp are an unusual combination, but the result is really effective and Serenata Española becomes a really unique opportunity to explore the multicoloured and delicate nuances of Spanish music.
Profound melancholy and passion are the main features of Serenata Española. De Maistre is able to represent them in an amazing way thanks to his technical precision and insight. His refined playing is skilfully expressive and extremely communicative and reveals at once his emotional honesty.
What is particularly notable about Serenata Española is that De Maistre is able to convey the impression of warm atmospheres through the ethereal sound of the harp, something that seems only apparently in contradiction with the intense colours of Spanish music. The liquid sound of the harp is perfect to render in a brilliant way melancholic melodies as Granados’s Andaluza and Albéniz’s Asturias or vivacious pieces as Pérez de Albéniz’s Sonata in D major or Giménez’s Intermedio. One of the most suggestive compositions is Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tárrega). Danse espangnole No. 1 from De Falla’s opera La vida breve, at last, is notable for its passion.