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Moisés MOLEIRO (1904-1979)
Sonatina No 1 in A minor (1933) [2.54]
Sonatina No 2 in C (1933) [3.15]
Sonatina No 4 in G minor (1933) [4.47]
Sonatina No 3 in D (1933) [3.17]
Sonatina No 5 in A minor (1934) [3.01]
Toccata in C sharp minor (1937) [2.32]
Toccata in B minor (1934) [2.40]
Toccata in C (1934) [2.42]
Little Suite (1960) [11.34]
Children’s Suite (1931) [5.57]
Two miniatures (1961) [3.11]
Playera (1942) [4.50]
The fountain (1934) [3.34]
Serenade in the Spanish style (1944) [3.25]
Concert Study (1937) [2.59]
Pictures of the plains (1953) [9.05]
Jaropo (1944) [3.12]
Clara Rodriguez (piano)
rec. venue and date details not supplied

This disc was apparently derived from an earlier release on ASV, excerpts from reviews of which are included in the booklet. Unfortunately what is not included in the booklet is any detailed information on the music itself; in half a page of notes the pianist makes some brief observations on the composer’s style, noting that the pieces selected “give an interesting insight into his compositional development”. Since we are denied even such basic details as the dates on which the works were composed, such insights are severely limited. Clara Rodriguez has provided substantial useful information in her booklet notes for earlier releases of piano music by Venezuelan composers, but here the notes fall sadly short. Nor do any of the internet sites yield much in the way of further elucidation beyond the fact that the Jaropo – far and away Moleiro’s best-known piece – was composed in 1944. The tracks are listed above in the order that they appear on the CD, and the dates which I have added are those given in the article on the composer in Grove.

Another review of this 2009 issue by Glyn Pursglove gives a good summary of the nature of Moleiro’s music – certainly more informative than one by Gerald Fenech on Classical Net, which similarly complains of the lack of information on the music but does little to elucidate further. However the presentation does not really substantiate the pianist’s claim that the composer’s style evolved from neo-classicism in the Scarlatti echoes of the Sonatinas to a more “modern approach” with “influence from the French Impressionism”. The individual pieces that make up the Little Suite, with their baroque-sounding titles, were written as late as the 1950s and only assembled into suite form as late as 1960. Grove lists six sonatinas, and there is no indication here as to why we are denied the final one (written like the Fifth in 1934) nor why the fourth appears before the third on the CD. The booklet note, incidentally, carries a curious reference to “byonalism”, which I presume is a misprint for “bitonality”.

Nonetheless this is, as Glyn Pursglove observed in his earlier review, eminently approachable music. It is true that the neo-classical pieces teeter on the brink of pastiche, if not going over the edge into outright parody; and the Concert Study, throwing a series of repetitive ideas together incoherently, is notable weak. However the two final tracks, the substantial Pictures of the plains and the upbeat Jaropo, are highly enjoyable. Best of all is the Playera, where Moleira approaches the mystical perfume-laden atmosphere of Granados’s Goyescas; this is a piece which any listener would be delighted to encounter in the concert hall.

Rodriguez clearly understands the idiom perfectly, and the recorded sound of the Steinway grand (the producer is credited as Peter Nicholls) is fine, even if much more closely observed than is the norm in Nimbus recordings. It is a real pleasure to make the acquaintance of this music, almost none of which is available elsewhere in the catalogues. It is not a comprehensive survey of Moleiro’s piano music — there are quite a few other works listed in Grove — but it certainly gives us a representative sample. It is just a pity that the presentation could not have supplied more detailed information.
Paul Corfield Godfrey

Previous review: Glyn Pursglove



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