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Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912 - 2002)
Complete works for Piano

Tres Divertimentos (1940): Con decisión (2.46); Muy dulce (2.05); Vivo (2.10)
Marta Zabaleta, piano
Divagación (1950)(3.22)
Carlota Garriga, piano
Quatre Diàlegs: Siciliana (1998) (3.48) Raimon Garriga, piano; Impromptu (1998) (2.26); Milonga (1998) (2.26); Ritmos (1942) (4.24) Dagmar Muñiz, piano
Sketch (1966) (2.46)
Dagmar Muñiz, piano
Shubertiada (1993) (2.29)
Pastoral D'áutome (1.55)
Carlota Garriga, piano
El Arca De Noé (1990): La oveja (1.07); El gallo (0.33); El elefante (1.22); La pulga (0.35); El gato (1.10); El canguro (0.47); El vals (1.02)
Alfredo Armero, piano
Sonatina Para Yvette (1962): Vivo e espiritoso (3.26); Moderato molto (3.36); Allegretto (2.12)
Berceuse a la memoria de Òscar Esplà (1987) (4.36)
Elegia A Ravel (1945) (2.00)
Mac McClure, piano
Tres Piezas Para La Mano Izquierda: Sí a Mompou (1983) (3.25)
Katia Mitchell, piano
Una pagina para Rubinstein (1987) (4.18)
EmiliBrugalla, piano
Alborada En Aurinx (1999) (6.34)
Improviso Epilogal (1.48)
Alegoria A Turina (1982) (3.46)
Raimon Garriga, piano
Program notes in Catalá, Castellano, English
COLUMNA MUSICA 1CM0036 [79.53]

Recently I was not greatly taken with some piano music by French Catalan composer Déodat de Sevérac, but then Sevérac was a chronicler and never set out to be a pathbreaker. But this music by Montsalvatge is an entirely different animal. Here are paths being built, lands being discovered. At first auditory glance it is as if Debussy had lived ten years longer and moved to Vienna to study with Alban Berg, for there is here still a Latin flavour but with a ‘Second Viennese’ accent. In 1969 Montsalvatge experimented briefly with actual tone rows. This music is not brilliant or aggressive, but reflective, and exactly repays the attention invested in it. Texture is very individual and not comparable to anyone else’s style.

For this recording the composer selected just which pieces he wished performed by just which pianist, so as to suit their technique to the music.

Montsalvatge was born in Girona in 1912. His earliest musical studies at first were focused on the then universal German style, but he soon rebelled and modelled his work on Latin and Parisian styles, including Stravinsky. He also acknowledges influence from Cuban and African music. The Tres Impromptus of 1933, his first notable piano work, won him several prizes, but was never published and is not included on this ‘complete’ disk. A number of ballet scores followed, and his style was compared to Federico Mompou. In 1946 he wrote for the weekly Destino in Barcelona, and in 1962 he began to write criticism for the vanguardia española. The year 1958 brought him increasing national recognition; in 1985 he was asked to compose for the European Year of Music and a prize was named in his honour in his home town. He became a much respected teacher and godfather to a new generation of Catalan composers such as Brotons and Benejam. He died at home in Barcelona on May 7, 2002.

In general the Catalán language retains a greater variety of sibilant sounds and consonantal digraphs than Castilian, and stresses some words differently. Xavier Montsalvatge is pronounced "sha-vi-err mon-tsal-VAD-zhe." In comparison, the Catalan word viatge is cognate with the Italian viaggio.

Students of 20th century piano music and Catalan music in general will want this disk. This disk would not play on several of the CD players in my home, but played fine on the others. When you buy this disk, check it at once to make sure it will play on your player before the store’s exchange period expires.

Paul Shoemaker


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