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Halffter: Sonatina, Serenade, L'espagnolade / Mirian Conti


Release Date: 05/27/2008 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7751   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ernesto HalffterManuel de Falla
Performer:  Mirian Conti
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A ballet score reduced for piano loses nothing in sound, mood and power - that may have more than a little to do with Mirian Conti's big sonority, power of projection, expansive phrasing and generous yet subtle use of the sustain pedal.

Two previous "complete" Ernesto Halffter piano music surveys did not include the present release's centrepiece, the 40-minute, multi-movement Sonatina. Originally a ballet score composed in 1927 for the Spanish choreographer Antonia Mercé, Halffter later transcribed it for piano solo - recorded here for the first time. As it happens, the original's imaginative orchestral fabric loses nothing in translation, so to speak. That may have more than a little to do with Mirian
Read more Conti's big sonority, power of projection, expansive phrasing and generous yet subtle use of the sustain pedal. Listen, for example, to the Zarabanda's powerfully projected single lines and bardic arpeggiated chords, or how the large-scale dynamic and dramatic contrasts of "La Gitana" move beyond the keyboard to create a kind of theatre of the mind.

The disc's opening selection, Espagnolade, purports to satirise what foreigners think of as Spanish music with all its clichés, yet one can easily enjoy its sheer melodic and rhythmic invention on its own terms, especially through Conti's passionate, wonderfully articulated fingerwork. As for Halffter's transcripions of Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs, Conti's intelligent, superbly controlled melody/accompaniment "piano-strations" reveal how well she knows the originals. Her heavier, more emphatic touch and subjective sense of rubato in the composer's three late Hommages contrast markedly with Adam Kent's more straightforward, texturally transparent and altogether quicker interpretations on Bridge. The full-bodied sonics count among the finest I've heard from Joseph Patrych's busy Bronx brownstone studio.

-- Jed Distler, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonatina by Ernesto Halffter
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Spain 
Length: 38 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
L'Espagnolade by Ernesto Halffter
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; Spain 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
3.
Hommages (3) for Piano by Ernesto Halffter
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; Spain 
Length: 9 Minutes 17 Secs. 
4.
Serenata a Dulcinea by Ernesto Halffter
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; Spain 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
5.
Canciones populares españolas (7) by Manuel de Falla
Performer:  Mirian Conti (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1915; Spain 

Featured Sound Samples

Sonatina (Halffter): Zarabanda
Canciones populares españolas (Falla): 1. "El paño moruno"

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