GRANADOS-BREINER: Twelve Spanish Dances. Poetic Scenes (Book I)
Norbert Kraft, guitar/Razumovsky Sinfonia/Peter Breiner, cond.
Naxos 8.553037 (B) (DDD) TT: 72:16

This is a CD that should have great appeal. Peter Breiner has made tasteful arrangements for guitar and orchestra of all twelve Spanish Dances by Enrique Granados, as well as the three movements of the first book of Poetic Scenes. This music is perfectly suited for guitar and small orchestra. The accompaniments are tasteful and complement Granados' delightful music. The familiar second dance, Orientale, is particularly effective. Performances are superb; Norbert Kraft obviously cares for this music, and the ensemble called "Razumovsky Sinfonia" is directed by arranger Breiner. Wonderful sound, too. Limited notes on the music, but they include the interesting story about how Granados died in 1916 at the age of 49 when his ship was torpedoed. Had he not been delayed by a recital he gave for the American President, he and his wife would have been on another ship. A rumor is that Granados drowned as he was weighed down by his money-belt.

 There is a companion CD to this that contains equally effective treatment of the same composer's Poetic Waltzes, but the major work on that CD is a too-long (49:52) arrangement by Breiner of music from Bizet's Carmen called "Carmen Concerto" (Naxos 8.553114). This sounds like an intriguing idea, but the "concerto" rambles excessively and seems unfocused, although it is very well played.

R.E.B. (Sept. 1999)