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Rodolfo Halffter: Chamber Music, Vol. 2 / Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists

Halffter / Soloists Of Orq De Comunidad De Madrid
Release Date: 05/31/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572419   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Miguel Angel JimenezBeatriz MillanFrancisco José SegoviaVíctor Arriola,   ... 
Conductor:  Manuel Coves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HALFFTER Giga. 1 3 piezas breves 2. Dos sonatas de El Escorial 3. Homenaje a Antonio Machado. 3 Laberinto. 3 Secuencia. 3 Epinchio 4. Caprichio. 5 Divertimento 6 Read more 1 Miguel Ángel Jiménez (gtr); 2 Beatriz Millán (hp); 3 Francisco José Segovia (pn); 4 Cinta Varea (fl); 5 Victor Arriola (vn); 6 Manuel Coves, cond; Madrid Communidad O NAXOS 8.572419 (68:17)


This disc is the second volume in Naxos’s series of chamber music by Roberto Halffter (1900–87). The works come from either end of the composer’s career, stretching from the Dos sonatas de El Escorial of 1928, to the Secuencia of 1977. Halffter began composing in the same vein as his brother Ernesto, a modernist Spanish style influenced by Falla and neoclassical Stravinsky, but unlike Ernesto he later expanded into 12-tone territory. (Indeed, he is credited with bringing Schoenberg’s system to Mexico, where he lived after the Spanish Civil War.) His late works have lost any distinct Spanish quality but retain the virtues of succinctness and bracing dissonance that characterize all this composer’s music.


The program opens with the Gigue for solo guitar, a beguiling piece from 1930 making idiomatic use of mordants in decorating the thematic material. Anyone who enjoys Rodrigo’s solo guitar music should find it appealing. The Three Short Pieces for harp are similarly easy on the ear, the composer’s finely chiseled lines responding to Beatriz Millán’s clean attack. The later solos for flute ( Epinchio ) and violin (Caprichio) have more of the air of studies, conveying the sense that the composer is trying out contemporary instrumental techniques. Epinchio is pretty unmemorable, though the Caprice at least manages to place the various double-stopped statements and scale passages into a discernible structure.


Like Volume 1 in the series, a large proportion of this disc is taken up with solo piano music (although it employs a different pianist from the previous release). Francisco José Segovia is equally at home in the early sonatas that require a feel for rubato as he is in the widely spaced textures of the late works. However, if Halffter’s piano music is your primary concern, other recordings are highly competitive. The dry, sharply articulated pianism of Silvana Santinelli on a Centaur double-CD set, which I reviewed in Fanfare 32:6, is better-suited to clarify Halffter’s textures. Santinelli does not include Laberinto (an eight and a half-minute work from 1972), so maybe there is a reason to get both.


For me, the most enjoyable part of this disc is the 11-minute Divertimento, which is an arrangement by the composer of four segments from his ballet suite Don Lindo de Almería (one of Halffter’s most recorded scores). Here the dances are arranged for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, and string quartet. The winds bring out the Stravinskian contours of the writing to great effect. In fact, I slightly prefer the nonet arrangement to the original forces of string orchestra and percussion. Performances are excellent from the members of the Madrid Community Orchestra, and the sound is full and present.


FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

1.
Giga, Op. 3 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Miguel Angel Jimenez (Guitar)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930 
2.
Piezas breves, Op. 13a by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Beatriz Millan (Harp)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951 
3.
Sonatas (2) de El Escorial, Op. 2 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Francisco José Segovia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928 
4.
Homenaje a Antonio Machado, Op. 13 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Francisco José Segovia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
5.
Divertimento, Op. 7a by Rodolfo Halffter
Conductor:  Manuel Coves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935 
6.
Laberinto by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Francisco José Segovia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Mexico 
7.
Capricho, Op. 40 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Víctor Arriola (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978 
8.
Epinicio, Op. 42 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Francisco José Segovia (Piano), Cinta Varea (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979 
9.
Secuencia, Op. 39 by Rodolfo Halffter
Performer:  Francisco José Segovia (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrid Community Orchestra Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977 

Sound Samples

Giga, Op. 3
3 piezas breves, Op. 13a: I. Moderato espressivo e rubato
3 piezas breves, Op. 13a: II. Tranquillo
3 piezas breves, Op. 13a: III. Marcato, animato
2 Piano Sonatas de El Escorial, Op. 2: No. 1. -
2 Piano Sonatas de El Escorial, Op. 2: No. 2. -
Homenaje a Antonio Machado, Op. 13: I. Allegro
Homenaje a Antonio Machado, Op. 13: II. Allegretto tranquillo
Homenaje a Antonio Machado, Op. 13: III. Lento
Homenaje a Antonio Machado, Op. 13: IV. Allegro
Divertimento, Op. 7a: I. -
Divertimento, Op. 7a: II. -
Divertimento, Op. 7a: III. -
Divertimento, Op. 7a: IV. -
Laberinto, Op. 34: I. Intento primero
Laberinto, Op. 34: II. Intento segundo
Laberinto, Op. 34: III. Intento tercero
Laberinto, Op. 34: IV. Intento cuarto
Capricho, Op. 40
Epinicio, Op. 42
Secuencia, Op. 39: I. Preludio
Secuencia, Op. 39: II. Interludio
Secuencia, Op. 39: III. Postludio

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