Xavier Montsalvatge: Piano Music, Vol. 1

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The music of Catalonian composer Xavier Montsalvatge, essentially neo-classic in spirit, features traces of the French 1920s scene in which he came of age, of jazz, of Latin American and Caribbean music, of Iberian nationalism, and, on occasion, of broad Romantic melody. All these elements cohere into a brilliant whole, ably represented here by Catalonian pianist Jordi Masó. The program is roughly chronological, showcasing Montsalvatge's discovery of each of these elements. Some of these pieces were originally premiered by Alicia de Larrocha, and most deserve wider exposure. The "Three Impromptus" of 1933 are in a thoroughly Milhaud-like vein, but Montsalvatge's own voice...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The music of Catalonian composer Xavier Montsalvatge, essentially neo-classic in spirit, features traces of the French 1920s scene in which he came of age, of jazz, of Latin American and Caribbean music, of Iberian nationalism, and, on occasion, of broad Romantic melody. All these elements cohere into a brilliant whole, ably represented here by Catalonian pianist Jordi Masó. The program is roughly chronological, showcasing Montsalvatge's discovery of each of these elements. Some of these pieces were originally premiered by Alicia de Larrocha, and most deserve wider exposure. The "Three Impromptus" of 1933 are in a thoroughly Milhaud-like vein, but Montsalvatge's own voice emerges in the lovely "Siciliana" 1940, in which that folk rhythm disappears in a mist of abstraction as the piece proceeds. "Ritmes" 1942 is a fine example of Montsalvatge's engagement with the music of the Western hemisphere, including jazz. In later music such as the "Sonatina pour Yvette" of 1961, such influences are more muted but still present. A special attraction of the album is the presence of a world premiere: the piano-and-string-orchestra version of Montsalvatge's "Recóndita Armonia," originally written as a string quintet and arranged by the composer himself, in great old age, into three separate versions that include a piano. The piano is generally integrated into the texture of this Romantic but quirky score, which would make a fine entry on a modest-sized symphonic program with a visiting pianist; it's fun, it doesn't require a Horowitz at the keyboard, and there's a certain hard-to-pin down joy pervading the whole. Highly recommended for fans of Iberian music. Brief but cogent booklet notes, by Masó himself, are in English and Spanish.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/25/2010
  • Label: Naxos Spanish
  • UPC: 747313074471
  • Catalog Number: 8570744
  • Sales rank: 376,762

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Divertimentos (3) sobre temas de autores olvidados, for piano - Xavier Montsalvatge & Jordi Masó (6:35)
  2. 2 Divagación, for piano - Xavier Montsalvatge & Jordi Masó (3:08)
  3. 5–7 Sonatina for Yvette, for piano - Xavier Montsalvatge & Jordi Masó (9:30)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jordi Masó Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    French-influenced piano music by a Catalan master

    This CD makes an appealing introduction to the music of the Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge (1912-2002). His early Three Impromptus won the young composer a prize and enough money to make the obligatory trip to Paris, where his early French influences (Debussy & Satie are mentioned by pianist Jordi Maso in his excellent liner notes, but I also hear Ravel) were reinforced by the avante garde Parisian piano writing of the mid-30s.

    So it is Milhaud & the rest of Les Six, jazz, Messiaen, and the poly-rhythms of the Caribbean and Latin America that one hears echoed in the remaining works. But Montsalvatge's own voice also emerges, especially in the more substantial Ritmes (1942), Divagacion (1950), and Sonatine pour Yvette (1961).

    The programme that Maso has chosen for this first disc in what looks like a complete survey of Montsalvatge's piano works shows the composer's great range and variety. It comes to a pleasing conclusion with a World Premiere Recording of the piano and string orchestra version of Recondita Armonia, originally written for string quintet. Jordi Maso continues his assured playing in this concertante work, ably assisted by the Granollers Chamber Orchestra under Francesc Guillen. Maso makes a strong case for Montsalvatge's piano music, and I look forward to listening to the second disc in his series.

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