I cannot imagine many piano lovers failing to fall for this delectable and all-too-brief collection of impressions, portraits and postcards. If you are not drawn to the imaginative programme of the familiar, the brand new and the entirely unknown, then the elegant, eloquent playing of this master pianist will surely seduce you.
The recital is in three parts: nine pieces by native-born Spaniards, four by Frenchmen and four by “Others”, each a self-contained sequence but which also have a satisfying structure when heard in toto. Hough's Spaniards are not concerned with sangria and guitars - his choice of music and pianism are too refined for that - but the sparkling F sharp major sonata by the Scarlatti disciple Antonio Soler and Granados's chastely romantic Valses give little hint of their composers' origins. Indeed, only Triana and Federico Longas's equally taxing Aragón (dedicated to Horowitz) match the vivid red, blue and yellow of the disc's cover illustration. Elsewhere we are treated to some of the loveliest pianissimos and delicate shadings you'll hear, familiar from Hough's earlier Piano Albums and similar in his complete empathy with this kind of repertoire.
If the Albéniz-Godowsky, Scharwenka and Niemann works are very much second-hand Hispanic, Hough's own On Falla has an authentic ring that should provide him with a blistering encore for many years to come. It is dedicated to our own Bryce Morrison (who has provided a fine booklet) and his partner Lyndon Scarffe. The piano sound (Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon) is as you would expect from Hyperion's dream team.