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Joan Manen: Obres Per A Violi I Piano Vol 1 / Macuta, Blanch


Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  La Ma De Guido   Catalog #: 2120   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina MacutaDaniel Blanch
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Here’s one of those very pleasant surprises that comes in the mail one day—you don’t know how you got it, but once you start listening the music and performances take over. You can’t wait to share the news with anyone else who may have been as much in the dark as you were an hour ago about this composer: these very infectious, exceptionally well crafted, and consistently captivating works for violin and piano are certain to, well, captivate—and delight, and bring you back.

Catalan composer Joan Manén (1883-1971) was very much of his time—the time of virtuoso violinists who also were (virtuoso) composers, who wrote music primarily for themselves to play at concerts. He also wrote
Read more operas, symphonic and piano works, songs, and choral pieces. While the compositional range and mastery of the virtuoso material may be just a notch below that of Sarasate (a friend of Manén) or Wieniawski, the thrill of the show-off stuff and the affecting manner of the lovely lyrical writing are every bit as entertaining and musically gratifying.

The styles are varied: most prominent are the Spanish melodies and rhythms—Andalouse and the spectacular La Caña—the imitations of guitar, most overt and effective in Soleá gitana (Manén may be best-known today for his guitar works), and the flamenco-inspired pieces (Five Spanish Melodies). But then there is the very significant (12-minute) Balada, a masterfully composed work that exploits the violin’s voice and virtues with just enough boldness—while seeming to have drifted into a musical landscape of the same world as Debussy. The Chanson Op. A-8 No. 1 is as French as a chanson can be. And the moto-perpetuo-style Étude—nearly four minutes of non-stop bowing mania—joins with the Petite suite espagnole’s “Moto perpetuo”, where the piano actually takes the foreground, to remind us of how much excitement a simple compositional formula, in the right hands, can generate.

There’s not a dull spot on the entire 68-minute program—and that’s of course thanks not only to Manén’s very attractive music, but to the musicianship and collaborative effort of Polish violinist Kalina Macuta and her Catalan partner, pianist Daniel Blanch. Macuta’s not always the smoothest or most careful of technicians—there are some occasional unpolished patches, which you will notice if you are paying close attention. But these are completely obliterated by Macuta’s dynamism, panache, fierce control in the very fastest passages, particular care for the softer, songful moments, and her robust, and where called for, gritty tone. Daniel Blanch is a solid partner whose collaboration is appropriately prominent—and the piano is ideally recorded in perfect tonal and dynamic alliance with the violin. Lovers of the violin—who especially appreciate that unique time of the virtuoso composer/performers—will not want to miss this little gem.

-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Danza Iberica no 1, Op. A25 by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
2.
Balada, Op. A20 by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
3.
Petite suite espagnole, Op. A3 by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
4.
Cancion y estudio, Op. A8 by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
5.
Danza Iberica no 2, Op. A36 "Calatayud" by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
6.
Romanza amorosa, Op. A48 by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 
7.
Spanish Melodies (5) by Juan Manén
Performer:  Kalina Macuta (Violin), Daniel Blanch (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Spain 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 The charms of Spain January 2, 2014 By Bob Lagaaij (Middelburg, Netherlands) See All My Reviews "Joan Manen perhaps is not the most prominent late romantic composer of Spain, but he sure has his charms. Macuta (violin) and Blanch (piano) are adequate performing these rustic works for violin and piano. Music with an undoubtly Spanish perfume. Two other cds of this unjustly seldom heard composer will follow next years. I am very curious!" Report Abuse
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