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Joaquín Nin y Castellanos (1878-1949) is generally considered a leading Spanish composer, pianist and musicologist, though he was born and died in Havana, Cuba and spent much of his life in Paris. Manifesting pianistic gifts even as a child, Nin was taken to Spain and studied piano in Barcelona before moving to Paris, where he was a piano pupil of Moritz Moszkowski. Most in demand as a performer in the 1920s and 1930s, it was only under the threat of World War II that, in 1939, Nin finally left France and returned to Cuba. Nin was a colourful and controversial character, a serial womanizer whose aristocratic bearing brought him an entrée to high society. He was also the father of two creative artists no less remarkable than himself: his daughter Anaïs Nin (1903-77), the writer most famous for her journals and erotica, and his second son, the composer Joaquín Nin-Culmell (1908-2004). As a pianist, Nin was a noted interpreter of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach as well as Spanish music ancient and modern. His original compositions were influenced by such Baroque-period works, French Impressionism and the more recent strain of Spanish nationalist music, drawing upon folk-music, that had been popularized by Albéniz, Granados and Falla. His piano writing gives a vivid idea of his personal playing style: commanding, impeccably crafted and invariably attractive, witty and charming, sometimes creating an atmosphere, sometimes perhaps telling a story.
“All of this music, much of it of an intricate virtuosity, is played with unflagging brio and complete poetic empathy by Martin Jones, whose missionary zeal on behalf of Spanish music deserves every honour Spain can offer”
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