Col Legno's welcome release of de
Pablo's later chamber music is contrived as a varied programme with
the different instrumental combinations available to the standard piano
trio. It is played by a group long associated with de Pablo's music,
which was heard live in the 1999 series of concerts at St Sebastian
to celebrate the composer’s 70th birthday (see the illustrated
report on S&H, with pictures at de Pablo's summer
composing retreat in the Basque countryside). The notable piano
trio was also included in a portrait concert at the 1999 Huddersfield
Festival, where Luis de Pablo was a featured composer.
Luis de Pablo has written prolifically in all genres
throughout a long and untiring compositional life, and he had a recent
success in Madrid with his fourth opera. Unfortunately his music is
rarely programmed in UK, but the Trio Arbós
will be giving the trio twice in October, in Leeds and Manchester.
De Pablo has a strong historical sense, and works in
traditional genres, which he seeks to enrich. His harmonic-melodic approach
is marked by "complex rhythmic syntax circling around fixed pitch ‘poles’,
contrasting with ostinati and frenzied activity" (José Luis Téllez).
The Trio, in three movements, focuses on 'line', with solos and duets,
sometimes as many as five contrapuntal strands, allowing "spiralling
figures to suffer collisions". Some of the music is playful and ironic,
with references to modes characteristic of Spanish folklore. The tribute
to Mompou quotes one of his Songs and Dances.
De Pablo is also interested in exploring further potentials
of his own earlier material as evidenced here by the substantial fragments
from his first opera, transcribed and recomposed for violin and piano,
and in his series of virtuosic Portraits and Transcriptions for
piano solo, two of them developed one from a section of his second opera,
the other based on the opening of Monologo for solo viola,
which had its UK première by Morgan Goff in a session with Richard
Steinitz at Huddersfield discussing the whole question of recycling
and recomposition, which is a common way that composers work nowadays
as it was in past eras.
This is a worthy production by Col Legno and it is
supplied with photos of all concerned, and a typical music example from
one of the piano pieces. The performances are authoritative and were
well recorded at the Madrid Conservatoire. Luis de Pablo will remain
ever famous for his key role in bringing his isolated and backward country
into the 20th century (q.v. Spanish Music in the Twentieth
Century, Tomás Marco, Harvard University Press) and he continues
to share his wisdom with the newest generation of composition students
in Spain and internationally in courses and master classes.
It is claimed that these are World Première
Recordings, and most of them are so, but there is an excellent earlier
recording of Luis de Pablo’s Piano Trio on Ermitage ERM 413 (recorded
in Bologna 1994; TT: 63.27), attractively combined with two other innovative
piano trios, the amazing one by Ives of 1904/11 (its second movement
is entitled TSIAJ - 'this scherzo is a joke'!) and Alessandro Solbiati’s
interesting and accessible trio of 1987, with a super-sensitive sound
palette. I would recommend acquisition of both those CDs, to put de
Pablo's trio into different perspectives.
Numerous CDs of Luis de Pablo’s music have now been
released (I now have some twenty of them) but they are scattered amongst
the lists of many record companies and not all of them are easy to find.
My own selected discography
of 1999 has a photo of both of us, and comprehensive reports and reviews
of de Pablo can be found by utilising the Search
Engine on Seen&Heard. … see Full Review
Peter Grahame Woolf
The Trio Arbos, which has been long associated
with this composer and will play de Pablo’s Piano Trio at their concerts
at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, 16 October and in
Leeds 17 October. E&OE