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MASO, Jordi: Catalan Piano Album (The)

Artist(s) Maso, Jordi, piano
Period(s) 20th CenturyRomantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.570457
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

In the years before the Spanish Civil War, Catalonia was at the heart of Spanish music. The present release features a stylistically diverse mix of composers, including Albéniz and Granados as well as composers less known outside Spain, all of whom made significant contributions to Catalan piano literature.


Review By David Denton,Naxos,October 2007

During the early part of the 20th century the Catalonia region of Spain was a fertile breeding ground for composers writing for the piano, Albeniz, Granados, Gerhard and Mompou among the well-known, while Agusti Grau and Xavier Gols represent those whose existence is long forgotten. Working in conventional tonality and very much removed from the musical world surrounding them, they all had a debt to French music - particularly Ravel and Debussy - with more than a hint of Les Six in the humour of such works as Manuel Blancafort's Polka de l'quilibrista (Tightrope-walker's polka). Yet hovering in the background is the basic gentility of Chopin, each brief cameo shaped with affection, the melodic invention never overstaying its welcome. I particularly enjoyed Joan Massia's El , a score from 1924 that many of the great French impressionists would have been pleased to own, while his quirky Scherzo is a brilliant piece of keyboard writing. Strange to relate that Massia was, in fact, a solo violinist of some repute. We move nearer to a national mode with Joaquim Malats catchy tune that forms the Serenata espanola, the most forward looking score coming from Joaquim Zamacois in his 1939 Sardana, the composer little known even in Spain. Just for a fleeting moment he realised the possibilities atonality held out. I don't suppose we could have placed the music in more knowing and musical hands than those of Jordi Maso, each piece paced and played with such affection.



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