WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Spanish Classics - Blancafort: Complete Piano Music Vol 4 / Miquel Villalba


Release Date: 04/29/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557335   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BLANCAFORT Pastorel-la. American Souvenir. Sonatina antiga. Ermita i panorama. Cavantina i diàleg. Romance, Intermezzo, and March Miquel Villalba (pn) NAXOS 8.557335 (64:38)


This is the fourth in a series devoted to the piano music of Catalan composer Manuel Blancafort (1897–1987). His work resembles that of his fellow Catalan Federico Mompou. I hear a similar tough edge to the harmony, stabs of dissonance underpinning the intimate surface, but Blancafort draws on a wider stylistic range, incorporating Read more neo-Classical influences ( Sonatina antiga ) and often a Debussyan sparkle. A fluency to the writing indicates the composer’s prowess as a pianist, and one or two pieces that wind down in a gradual rallentando remind us that the Blancafort family was in the pianola business.


I have found this disc beguiling, returning to it out of sheer pleasure as much as reviewing necessity. The stately Cavantina and the similarly melancholy Saraband that constitutes the central movement of the Sonatina (Tendresa) reveal a considerable depth of feeling. On a more Impressionistic note, the piece entitled Ermita i panorama (“Hermitage and Panorama,” 1930–31) opens with a folksy theme, sounding like a Hispanic Vaughan Williams, then blossoms into virtuosic activity. With its rippling surface, this could be a newly discovered prelude by Debussy.


American Souvenir (1926–29) consists of two movements. The first was inspired by an Atlantic crossing the composer undertook, where the slow progress of the voyage was punctuated by the distant sounds of bustling activity and the resident American jazz orchestra on board. The second is a tribute to Charlie Chaplin, a screen star who fascinated Blancafort—much as he fascinated the composer’s French contemporary Charles Koechlin. In both these pieces, Blancafort retains his personal voice (as indeed did Koechlin in his own Chaplin tribute, the final movement of the Seven Stars Symphony ). There is no mock-ragtime to depict the 1920s; rather the composer has evoked the energy of that era through his own musical language, more a passive observer than participant. A tinge of pathos to the high jinks makes the second piece suitably “Chaplinesque.”


The music covered in this program comes from a six-year period centering on the late 1920s, with the exception of the three-part Romance, Intermezzo, and March , written in 1942. In this suite of pieces, Blancafort has pared back his textures and any French influence has practically disappeared. The result is plainer, closer to Mompou in its concision. Several of these works remain unpublished, including Ermita i panorama and the lilting Pastorel-la that opens the recital.


Pianist Miquel Villalba presents this unfamiliar music with skill and sensitivity; one senses that his heart is in it. The sound is enjoyably warm and clear. In its gentle way, this disc is a winner.


FANFARE: Phillip Scott
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Pastorel·la by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2. American Souvenir: no 1, Transatlàntic en ruta by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
3. American Souvenir: no 2, Homenatge a Chaplin by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4. Cavatina i diàleg by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 32 Secs. 
5. Sonatina antiga: 1st movement, Exercici by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
6. Sonatina antiga: 2nd movement, Tendresa by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
7. Sonatina antiga: 3rd movement, Recreació by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
8. Ermita i panorama: no 1, Ermita by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 40 Secs. 
9. Ermita i panorama: no 2, Panorama by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
10. Romança, intermedi i marxa: no 1, Romança by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
11. Romança, intermedi i marxa: no 2, Intermedi by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
12. Romança, intermedi i marxa: no 3, Marxa by M Blancafort de Rosselló
Performer:  Miquel Villalba (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook