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Montsalvatge: Piano Music Vol 1 / Jordi Maso

Montsalvatage / Granollers Chamber Orch / Guillen
Release Date: 05/25/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570744   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó
Conductor:  Francesc Guillen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granollers Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



MONTSALVATGE 3 Impromptus. Siciliana. 3 Divertimentos. Ritmes. Elegia a Ravel. Divagación. Sonatine pour Yvette. Sketch. Recóndita armonia Jordi Masó (pn); Francesc Guillén, cond; Granollers CO NAXOS 8.570744 (61: 34)


It is good to see the Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge (1912–2002) receiving more recognition. Naxos is embarking on a Montsalvatge series (this is Volume 1 of the piano music); recordings date from 2008.

Read more /> The early (1933, but not published until 2008) impromptus that open the disc are markedly French sounding. Jordi Masó’s own booklet notes rightly point out the influence of Debussy in the first and Satie in the second. The third is the epitome of charm, with Ravel possibly in the shadows. Masó’s readings are beautifully shaded. The recording (Jafre, Spain) is a little brittle and dry. A little more ambience would have benefited the intimacy of this music.


The Siciliana is actually part of a ballet (1940) that never made it to the stage. Fifty years later, the composer made this piano version. It is a charming piece, with an oriental-tinged melody. The full title of the Three Divertimentos of 1941 is Tres Divertimentos sobre temas de autores olvídados (Three Divertimentos on Themes by Forgotten Composers). The three pieces are a schottische, a habañera, and a waltz-jota, and the forgotten composers are the fact that the themes come from melodies so well known that nobody knows the original composers. The central habañera, marked Muy dulce , is a joy, especially in Masó’s beautiful performance.


Masó programs three short pieces in succession, Ritmes (1942), Elegia a Ravel (1945), and Divagación (1950). It is easy to hear why the composer held Ritmes in such high regard. It is delightful, and its sense of joy is infectious. The Elegia a Ravel is in fact a revision of the second of the impromptus, but revised so much it emerges as a new entity. It is beautifully shaped here by Masó, played with just the right amount of restraint. Divagación is a transcription for Alicia de Larrocha of an interlude from Montsalvatge’s first opera, El gato . It is charm personified, and scored for orchestra it must surely have fulfilled its function beautifully. Masó’s pure legato ensures its success in the piano reduction here.


The title of the popular Sonatine pour Yvette (1961) refers to the composer’s daughter, and there is a quotation of a popular children’s song, “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman,” in the final movement. The short Sketch seems rather inconsequential, despite its history of originating as part of a ballet in the manner of Les Six, then its appearance in the orchestral suite Calidoscopi simfonic.


Decidedly not inconsequential is the work for piano and string orchestra, Recóndita armonia of 1955. As the pianist Jordi Masó points out in his notes, this four-movement work is of decidedly concertante nature. The piano is an integral, vital part of the procedings. If there is dynamism evident in the opening bars, it is somewhat misleading, for the underlying feel here is lyrical, and much of this first movement is restrained, introspective even. True peace is found in the Andante sostenuto; a brief, light scherzo leads to a finale that seems to dwell more on sinewy counterpoint than the perhaps expected jubilation. It is an intriguing movement, and is a remarkably beautiful and thought-provoking way to close the work (this is its world premiere recording).


Fascinating repertoire. Do explore.


FANFARE: Colin Clarke
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Works on This Recording

1.
Impromptus (3) for Piano by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933 
2.
Siciliana by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 
3.
Divertimentos (3) for Piano by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Spain 
4.
Ritmes by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942 
5.
Elegía a Maurice Ravel by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Spain 
6.
Divagación by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; Spain 
7.
Sonatina para Yvette by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; Spain 
8.
Sketch for Piano by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; Spain 
9.
Recóndita Armonia by Xavier Montsalvatge
Performer:  Jordi Masó (Piano)
Conductor:  Francesc Guillen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Granollers Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955 

Sound Samples

3 Impromptus: No. 1. Molto delicato
3 Impromptus: No. 2. Semplice
3 Impromptus: No. 3. Leggero
Siciliana
3 Divertimentos: No. 1. Con decision
3 Divertimentos: No. 2. Muy dulce
3 Divertimentos: No. 3. Vivo
Ritmos
Elegia a Maurice Ravel
Divagacion
Sonatina para Yvette: I. Vivo e spiritoso
Sonatina para Yvette: II. Moderato molto
Sonatina para Yvette: III. Allegretto
Sketch
Recondita Armonia: I. Allegro con brio
Recondita Armonia: II. Andante sostenuto
Recondita Armonia: III. Allegro con brio
Recondita Armonia: IV. Moderato

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