Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Leonardo BALADA (b.1933)
Caprichos no.1, Homage to Federico García Lorca, for guitar and strings (2003) [23:02]
Caprichos no.5, Homage to Isaac Albéniz, for cello and chamber orchestra (2008) [21:41]
A Little Night Music in Harlem, for strings (2006) [11:00]
Reflejos, for flute and strings (1988) [17:37]
Bertrand Piétu (guitar); Aldo Mata (cello); Tatiana Franco (flute)
Iberian Chamber Orchestra/José Luis Temes
rec. City Auditorium, León, Spain, 25-27 June 2010. DDD
NAXOS 8.572625 [73:20]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the latest addition to Naxos's intended complete works of Leonardo Balada. Reviews of previous volumes of orchestral music can be found here, here and here; of his vocal music here, here, here, here and here. The first volume devoted to Balada's five Caprichos - nos. 2, 3 and 4 - appeared last year, and was enthusiastically reviewed here.
 
Balada is Catalan by birth, but has been living and working in the USA for the last fifty years; he has been Professor of Composition at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh since 1975, and it is there that the first disc of Caprichos was recorded. This one has returned to Spain, where technical quality has traditionally been variable and was certainly a black mark against some of those earlier volumes. Not here, however - these are marvellous recordings, spacious and vivid.
 
Balada's earlier works belonged to the avant-garde, and in the booklet, he states that a "symbiosis of the avant-garde with the folk-traditional" has become his "stamp". Yet from 1975 he turned to a more listener-friendly melodic style, often of a nationalistic colour (Spanish/Catalan more than American), and the Caprichos are unequivocally part of this trend.
 
Incidentally, individual works are properly entitled Caprichos, not Capricho: the title refers in each case to a suite-like collection of 'capricious' movements. Caprichos no.3 was subtitled 'Homage to the International Brigades', and this programme turns up two further homages, though of a less political nature. The gorgeously Spanish Caprichos no.1 is a tribute to Lorca, its seven short movements borrowing material from the Andalusian folk songs the poet/dramatist himself arranged for piano and voice. Most listeners should recognise a snippet from the finale of Rodrigo's Aranjuez Concerto in the very first section - but Balada is quoting Los Cuatro Muleros, not Rodrigo. Balada admits to using "aleatoric devices, tone clusters, atonality" in this work, but integrates the modernist elements so smoothly and tastefully, with the guitar always playing sunny or soulful Spanish melodies that some may find it hard to credit - the work is truly a child of Rodrigo's concerto. It makes virtuosic demands of soloist and ensemble alike, and Piétu and the Iberian CO turn in some impressive performances. The terrific 'neo-traditional' zapateado that brings this quality work to a close is worth the entrance fee on its own.
 
Perhaps surprisingly, given its capacity for evocativeness, Balada puts down the guitar for his homage to Isaac Albéniz in Caprichos no.5 and takes up the cello: in fact, each of the four movements, which he calls 'Transparencias', is based on a piano piece by his great Catalan predecessor. Like the First Caprichos, the solo instrument waxes lyrical almost throughout, with sulphurous dissonance generally reserved for the ensemble strings. Again, Balada effortlessly conjures up thoroughly original, communicative music that, whilst predicated on semi-modernist idiom, will still move and entertain even audiences brought up on more traditional repertoire. All the performers here gave the world premiere in 2009, and their familiarity with the work's considerable demands helps paint its colours vividly in this recording, which was made shortly afterwards.
 
There is no let-up in calibre or originality in the final two works. A Little Night Music in Harlem takes its title from the famous Mozart Serenade of the same name, albeit minus the Harlem reference. Also for string orchestra, it quotes Mozart's motifs freely, in what Balada aptly calls "surrealist transformation", over a jazzy bass rhythm. Yet again the substantial modernist techniques are understated, leaving the quasi-Mozartean melodies, delectable sonorities and infectious rhythms to shine. Cheekily, the last few bars are Mozart's. Reflejos predates the first three works by a decade or two. It was written for flute and strings, but with the flute playing with the strings - though not always - to add extra 'height', rather than as a soloist. Here at last Balada's writing is more obviously modernist, particularly in the textures of the long, dark-hued first movement, which ends in poignant threnody. The shorter Alegrías that follows is almost like a different work, jaunty, optimistic, tonal.
 
Unlike Balada, the Iberian Chamber Orchestra, Madrid-born Spanish-repertoire specialist José Luis Temes and the three soloists are all making their debut recording for Naxos on this disc, which is part of the label's '21st Century Classics' series. Their highly commendable performances and Balada's imagination and originality combine to present the public with works thoroughly deserving of that accolade.
 
Byzantion
Collected reviews and contact at reviews.gramma.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.