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Moving from her beloved and often memorable Mozart and Schubert, Imogen Cooper now turns to more exotic fare, all of it with underlying French and primarily Spanish themes. But while her poetic empathy is never in doubt in Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, her love of confidentiality becomes excessive elsewhere, making you long for greater impetus and vitality.

She misses the fierceness inseparable from the Spanish character in her very English- sounding Albéniz. She is strenuous in ‘El Puerto’ from Iberia book 1 (try Benjamin Grosvenor’s 2009 recording for a truly authentic verve and brilliance) and she misses the sultry fantasy at the heart of ‘Fête-dieu à Seville’. Her take on Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse is insufficiently extrovert or joyeuse, and if there is a welcome burst of vivacity in the final dance section of Mompou’s Cancion y danza No 6, it comes too late to compensate for a lethargy which only some will mistake for poetry.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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