Joaquín Nin y Castellanos (1878-1949) is generally considered a Spanish composer, but he was born and also died in Havana, Cuba. Much of his life was spent in Paris, but when he was still a child, he was taken to Spain and studied the piano in Barcelona. During the 1920's and 30's he made a name for himself as a performer in the French capital, but with the onset of the War he quickly returned to Cuba.
Nin was a colourful and controversial character, a serial womanizer whose aristocratic bearing helped him reach the upper echelons of society. His personal life was wreced by two divorces and the abuse of one of his daughters but as a composer he was wholly successful and his music is extremely well crafted and full of melodic invention.
The piano works on this disc inhabit both the Baroque World and French Impressionism but the strain of such Spanish masters as Albéniz, Granados and de Falla is also very evident. His piano writing is masterly throughout, and this programme gives a vivid idea of Nin's playing style which is witty and charming while retaining its penchant for creating atmosphere or telling a story.
Martin Jones' performances are wonderfully vibrant, and his love for this music enables him to bring out all the emotional colours of Nin's engaging pieces. Extremely enjoyable stuff from one of Spain's least famous keyboard composers.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech