Judith Jáuregui publishes her new album: HOMELAND

Homeland is more than just a place of birth; the term connotes a deep emotional bond between an individual and their country, their culture, and their nature. It was when composers Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) began to explore the depths of their cultural homelands that they found the compositional languages for which they are famous today. Judith Jáuregui united two of the greatest works of both composers on her seventh album, titled Homeland. Together with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León and conductor Kaspar Zehnder, she recorded Grieg’s Piano Concerto Opus 16 and de Falla’s Noches en los Jardines de España.

“Edvard Grieg and Manuel de Falla are two names which have become engraved in music history as noble spirits – true to themselves in their search for a language of their own that is built on the love for the soul of their people. They brought forth two brilliant universes, shaped by originality and authenticity, a true mirror image of their connection to their homeland“ – Judith Jáuregui came to this realization through her intense work on the two pieces. She had previously performed the works during live concerts with different orchestras, providing a trove of experiences that resonate into the new recording presented on this CD.

Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concert in A minor has become – next to his Peer Gynt Suite – a symbol for literal nordic soundscapes. It was premiered in Copenhagen in 1869 and remains the only piano concert completed by Grieg. Listening to it engages our lively imagination: the piano is immediately in the middle of the dramatic action. Tumbling, falling chord progressions of the first motif can definitely be associated with the mighty waterfalls in the North. In all the following movements, too, the combination of romantic passion and folkloristic elements create an emotional depth full of pictorial power. Musicologically interesting are some stylistic parallels to Robert Schumann’s Piano Concert in A minor. It is no coincidence that Judith Jáuregui focused on Robert and Clara Schumann’s music on her previous CD, published in 2020 and titled Die romantische Seele (The Romantic Soul).

According to Judith Jáuregui, Manuel de Falla’s Noches en los Jardines de España provide “a perfect impressionistic depiction of the Spanish attitude,” in which many flamenco elements as well as elements of the Andalusian landscape come to life. De Falla’s case is similar to Grieg’s: The Spanish composer was likewise socialized through the common standards of the Central European musical world ever since taking up his studies in Madrid. His encounter with the great maestro of Spanish music, Felipe Pedrell, proved to be fateful. Pedrell had already introduced Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Joaquín Turina to the new, “homeland-connected” ways. With Manual de Falla, this approach also fell on fertile ground. After meeting Pedrell, Manual de Falla lived in Paris from 1907 until 1914, where he was closely connected with Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas. This too left an impression on Noches, which premiered in 1916 and is a wonderful combination between Spanish passion and French 'arome'.