...hear how profoundly beautifully Schaaf plays them...(his) engagement with the music's depths is total and heartening. Three-and-a-half stars (out of four).
...this is an exceptionally fine Iberia performance, drawing listeners in through Schaaf's sheer intensity and the dedication that he so clearly brings to each of the 12 pieces...Schaaf's Iberia is a very considerable achievement, delightful to hear and played with enthusiasm that is absolutely infectious.
...bracing rhythms, crystalline textures, pungent harmonic details... This impressive new recording of Albéniz's valedictory masterpiece (is) an accomplishment which Schaaf can take immense credit for.
...Schaaf's Iberia is highly evocative and belies a deep familiarity with the music. Captured by engineer Ryan Streber, the sound is pretty much ideal. It's as close-up as you'd want, percussive without inside-the-piano claustrophobia, but still possesses an excellent sense of the instrument's mass. Truly among the best-sounding piano recordings I've ever heard.
The 12 sections of Iberia are among the most fearsome in the repertoire, and Schaaf acquits himself with distinction. In this immensely challenging panorama of Spanish scenes, he finds poetry and shows that Albéniz's quiet moments can pack the same kind of wallop as those which set the keyboard ablaze. From the opening, a moving account of Evocación, he shows unflagging energy and empathy for the score...Schaaf's facility and affinity for the composer's colors and evocative rhythms will make many sit up and take notice.
A most welcome attempt at one of the mountains of the literature. This reading is classical, virtuosic...unencumbered and very fresh...a valid and quite successful take on a piece that discourages most comers — Schaaf was not afraid to tackle the lion.
I have in my collection a wonderful recording of Albéniz's Iberia by pianist Peter Schaaf.
(Just released! No reviews yet.)