Pepe was a fantastic pianist. A soloist, a great soloist (as was Rosa Sabater as well).
In 1977, the 150th anniversary of the death of Beethoven, we performed his complete Sonatas between 20 and 25 times. For me, working on them and rehearsing with Pepe Tordesillas was one of the best musical experiences in my life.
I don’t remember how long we spent in the preparation. Months. I do remember that he stayed at my home in Brussels for 8 to 10 days, and afterwards we took advantage of each of my trips to Spain to continue working. We performed the 10 pieces over three consecutive days in 1980 and it was a most gratifying moment in my musical career to see the March Foundation in Madrid completely packed, not only the concert hall but the hall next to it with closed circuit tv, and even the cafeteria, as well as the lines of people waiting to enter on the following two days.
Musically speaking, you end up wondering which of the Sonatas you prefer. Naturally, the ones most often performed, the first one in D major, Spring Sonata, the 8th in G major, the Kreutzer, and the 10th. My personal opinion may come as a surprise; undoubtedly it cannot be argued that the Kreutzer is the most popular one, but I personally believe that the 10th is my favorite. I called it the “Pastoral”. The serenity of the first movement with that sense of placidity; the depth of the second movement, the Scherzo and finally the theme and variations at the end. How marvellous, so much music enclosed there! I think I was able to convice my “buddy” somewhat, although I also believe that given his passionate, romantic temperament, he preferred the Kreutzer.
Tordesillas had a sense of the balance of sound between the two instruments that was extraorinary. We always performed with the grand piano completely open and no one ever said that it overshadowed the violin. We performed practically the entire Spanish repertoire (José Luis Turina -Variations and Thema nº 2 - Rodrigo, Turina, Manuel Castillo, Montsalvatge, Toldrá, Cassadó, etc.) Even a sonata by Jaime Pahissa …
Also ten sonatas by Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Grieg, Franck, Bartok, and Prokoviev.
Pepe had a talent for adapting himself to all styles. From the delicacy of Mozart and Schubert to the 1st Sonata by Prokofiev.
Our musical partnership lasted for 24 years and was loaded with experiences, triumphs, and anecdotes.
But I shouldn’t write any more.
I am sorry to tire any possible readers, but you must remember that I spent 35 years of my life collaborating with those great musicians and pianists. May God grant them his glory; they have well earned it as human beings and as ARTISTS.