Tuesday, Nov. 13, Dr. Agustin Muriago from Kansas State performed in Week 11 of the Fall/Winter Amarillo Arts Season and as part of the AC Piano Series. Dr. Muriago played a full program of Spanish music that, for the fortunate few in attendance, was the gastronomic equivalent of an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet of paella and Tempranillo wine.
The first work was composed by Catalonian Federico Mompou, once declared the creative successor to Debussy. He was influenced by Satie and his ostinato-embellished works are spare but rich. If his “Canzon y Danzas” begins like Dia de los Muertos, it concludes like Mardi Gras.
Granados, in the six-part “Valses Poeticos,” manages to pull all of the heartstrings. Or maybe it was Agustin’s happy fingers. De Falla’s “Danza Espanola, on the other hand, was a Spanish slam-dunk! One had no problem hearing the castenets and flamenco guitar from the Shigera Kawai keyboard.
Moritz Moszkowski, obviously Polish, evoked a totally Iberian sound in “Caprice Espagnol,” which was followed by three Habaneras, distinguished by totally different moods and tone by Halffter, Debussy and Chabrier.
Halffter’s flamenco sounded like a major bee swarm, whereas Debussy, inspired by a postcard, at times sounded like an orchish army. Chabrier’s emotive work, on the other hand, delivered on a wide range of dynamics.
Cuban-born Ernesto Lecuona’s six part “Suite Espanola,” except for the finale of “Malaguena,” remained largely unknown until the 90’s when they enjoyed a Renaissance. Lecuona’s seamless grafting of Gypsy, Moorish and Spanish folk melodies is evident in the three parts Agustin played: Cordoba; Andalucia; Gitanerias.
Any Spanish program would be incomplete without a work by Isaac Albeniz. The composer was inspired by a culturally diverse section of Granada and portrays the vibrant night life in the streets, with generous octavian pounding.
This was truly a magnificent performance and it is unlikely that an Amarillo audience will anytime soon hear such a program of Spanish music. Who’d have thunk that here in cowboy country we would have heard it in the first place?
Our gratitude and thanks to Dr. Agustin Muriago for his matchless artistry and to Dr. Diego Caetano for arranging the program. Don’t know where he finds these incredible pianists, but we’re the better for his efforts.
So we can say with glissandos: “Keep Amarillo Artsy! Keep Austin Weird” “Keep Lubbock in the Rear View Mirror!!!”