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Salvador BROTONS (b. 1959)
Guitar Concerto Mare Nostrum op. 78 (1999) [27:08]
Sonata-Concertino for trombone, strings, piano and percussion op. 82 (2000?) [15:25]
Flute Concerto op. 72 (1996) [23:10]
Fantasia for horn and strings Op. 12 (1976) [8:16]
Àlex Garrobé (guitar)
Ricardo Casero (trombone)
Daniel Espasa (piano)
Magdalena Martínez (flute)
David Thompson (horn)
Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya/Salvador Brotons
rec. Auditori de Sant Cugat, Barcelona, May 2004. DDD



Four tonal-melodic concertante works for solo instrument and orchestra by the Barcelona-born Brotons. He already has some eighty works to his credit most scored for either orchestra or chamber ensemble. He studied with Antoni Ros-Marba (conducting), Xavier Montsalvatge (composition) and Manuel Oltra (scoring).

The Guitar Concerto is a creature of Iberian shadows and confiding Gothic whispers, jagged drama, sweet  touching deliquescence (II) not far removed from Rodrigo's Aranjuez and Ponce's Concierto del Sur. There's even the wooden clatter of castanets in the finale. It was written in Barcelona, the Costa Brava and the Balearics. Don't miss it. Amongst the most satisfying guitar concertos. The last one I discovered that was this good was the Elegy for the Vanished by Meyer Kupferman on Soundspells CD 133.

A major change of gear comes with the two movement Sonata-Concertino - a work originally written as a sonata for trombone and piano. The oppressive string writing in the Adagio funebre reeks of Shostakovich with the mood consistently profound; even tragic. In the pounce and plunge of the Cadenza the music is more brilliant, Waltonian and with the sort of emotional depth you find in the Oldham composer's Troilus and Cressida. Rather a nice and far from fluffy addendum to Brotons' Trombone Concerto.

The Flute Concerto is in four movements: dreamy-poetic, flightily buzzing and capricious, sombre and funereal rather like the adagio of the Sonata-Concertino and concluding with sparkling-eyed Waltonian brilliance. Parts of this suggested a debt to Nino Rota while in others the concertos of Malcolm Arnold came to mind.

The Fantasia for horn and strings is resolutely tonal, very romantic as befits the instrument, a little like Britten but with a soft infusion from Shostakovich.

It is all thoroughly documented in several European languages.

I am glad I heard the music on this disc and am happy to recommend it for its poetry and high spirits.

Rob Barnett







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