Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


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
Download from The Classical Shop

Xavier MONTSALVATGE ( 1912 - 2002)
Partita 1958 [16:40]
Cinco Canciones Negras (1946, orch. 1949)a [12:14]
Calidoscopi simfònic (1955, rev. 2001) [15:59]
Simfonia da Rèquiem (1985)b [22:38]
Clara Mouriz (mezzo)a; Ruby Hughes (soprano)b
BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena
rec. MediaCity UK, Salford, 8-9 December 2011
CHANDOS CHAN 10735 [68:00] 

Experience Classicsonline



Although the name was familiar, Montsalvatge's music is new to me so that I really welcomed the opportunity to review this disc released to mark the composer's centenary. The four works recorded here usefully span his long creative life and encompass different parts of his large and varied output while also providing a welcome opportunity to appreciate his stylistic progress over all these years. 

Montsalvatge's idiom is clearly of its time and often embraces various influences without ever attempting at pastiche or parody. His global outlook is that of a composer happy to work within some well-meaning Neo-classicism often spiced with piquant dissonances and polytonality that sometimes bring Milhaud to mind. This is fairly clear in the Partita which earned him the 1958 Oscar Esplà Prize. The Partita as well as the Cincos Canciones Negras and the Calidoscopi simfònic also displays another characteristic of Montsalvatge's music at the time, i.e. the reliance on some exotic dance rhythms such as the habanera. The Partita is in four compact movements without any real connection between them. The Neo-classical tone of most of the music is still more evident at the close of the third movement when it nods (consciously or not) to the Gavotte from Prokofiev's First Symphony. This most attractive work ends with a joyful final, at times fugal movement that also includes a section for percussion alone. 

The Cincos Canciones Negras were originally written for voice and piano in 1946 and arranged for orchestra in 1949. This short song cycle abounds with niceties, infectious rhythms as well as moments of great tenderness, such as the fourth song Canción de Cuna para Dormir a un Negrito (“Lullaby for a little black boy”). It is not difficult to understand why this very fine work has become - and remains - popular. Clara Mouriz sings beautifully throughout and is superbly partnered by the BBC Philharmonic. I would only suggest that the very end of the beautiful fourth song (“Lullaby”) sounds a bit artificial to me in term of recording for it seems hardly possible for a singer to sustain such soft singing, but I may be wrong. 

The Calidoscopi simfònic seems to have had a rather chequered genesis. Gerald Larner's excellent insert notes state that the music derives from an early, unfinished ballet El Angel de la Guarda that was first reworked as an orchestral suite under the Spanish title of Calidoscopio in 1955. This score was lost, rediscovered decades later, revised and reintroduced under its present Catalan title in 2001. The music as such has much in common with that of the Partita and the Cincos Canciones Negras. It shares their colourful scoring, lively rhythms and melodic invention. The music of the final movement Final 'a la Indiana' brings Villa Lobos to mind, and none the worse for that. 

This might induce that Montsalvatge had no real personality of his own, which is of course entirely wrong because he obviously managed to absorb different influences and - by so doing - to find his own voice. However, the Simfonia de Rèquiem vastly demonstrates the breadth of vision of the mature composer. Although the title might hint at Britten's own Sinfonia da Requiem, the intent behind Montsalvatge's work was a symphonic version of the Requiem Mass. “I intended to ignore the orthodox religious aspect and to concentrate on bringing out its profound, forceful message, which is both sad and sublime, solely by means of the orchestra”. After several hearings I came to the conclusion that this is an imposing and quite substantial piece of music that has apparently been composed out of inner compulsion on the composer's part although one is not told how or why he came to write this mighty work. A good deal of the music is based on the Dies Irae that keeps appearing and reappearing in varied guises throughout the work. Stylistically it is clear that the composer has progressed from some well-meaning Neo-classicism to some more abrasive writing with shades of Honegger in the more troubled sections. There are also moments of great peace and tenderness as in the Agnus Dei that has a soft, decorative piano part reminiscent of some quiet moment from Messiaen's gigantic symphony. The final Libera me, Domine opens with solemn brass fanfares leading to the first and last entry of the soprano on the words Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine. Amen as a final prayer for peace. The Simfonia de Réquiem is a deeply felt and sincere piece of music that definitely repays repeated hearings and clearly deserves to be much better known. It undoubtedly ranks among Montsalvatge's finest achievements. 

Performances and recording are excellent and up to Chandos' best standards. A most welcome introduction to Montsalvatge's world and a superb tribute to the composer in his centenary year. 

Hubert Culot 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.