Naxos release of Catalan Wind Music, Vol. 2, includes Symphony #1 for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, recorded by the Barcelona Symphonic Ensemble (Banda Municipal de Barcelona) conducted by Salvador Brotons. This new album from the Barcelona Symphony Band is a compilation of the first world recordings of works by Catalan composers (Montsalvatge, Amargos, Fábregas and Bertrán). “Elisenda Fábregas’ dramatic and emotional First Symphony contrasts majestic grandeur with the expressiveness of Catalan song.” (Naxos Direct).
Kompas Trio performed Voces de mi tierra for flute, cello and piano at Blackerby Recital Hall in Austin, TX, on August 17, 2019. This concert, Soundscapes, was their Debut Concert as a trio. Their program also included works by Piazzola and Julio Alberto Hernandez. Kompas Trio is a newly formed chamber music group composed of female artists originally from the Dominican Republic. Laura Canelo Cohen, flute; Ilia De la Rosa, cello; Ninoska Thrall, piano.
Imitació del Foc (Imitation of Fire) for tenor and piano was performed this past spring on February 15, 2019: St. Stephen’s Concert Series in Wilmington, DE; February 24, 2019: Furman University in NC; Feb 26: Newberry College in SC; and Feb 28: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC. This work is being championed by Jess Muñoz, tenor, and pianist Oksana Glouchko, commissioners of this work with generous support from a University of Delaware General University Research Grant. Imitacio del foc was recorded in August 2018 with producer/engineer Andreas Meyer and will be part of an album featuring 24 Art Songs by Catalan Composers of the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Imitació del Foc (Imitation of Fire) for tenor & piano received its premiered on March 12, 2018, at the University of Delaware in a program dedicated to Catalonian and Latin American women composers. After the premiere, additional concerts were presented in the 2018 Spring along other music by Catalonian composers, including Toldra and Mompou. Some of the concerts took place at Gore Recital Hall Roselle Center for the Arts, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Indiana University -South Bend, Taylor University, and Market Street Music Concert Series.
Imitació del Foc is based on poetry by Mallorquin poet Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel (1913-1938). It includes four poems: I. Inici de campana (Quadern de sonets); II.Escolto la secreta… (from Imitacio del Foc, ‘Arbre de Flames’); III. Pluja brodada (Imitacio del foc, ‘Fira encesa’); and IV. Ardent himne (Imitacio del foc, ‘Arbre de Flames’).
Pianist Becky Billock performed Mirage in her Pacific Northwest tour in the US and also in Iceland and Norway. Dates/locations: March 8, Portland, OR; March 9, Salem, OR; March 10, Olympia, WA; March 11, Sequim; March 12, Sidney, B.C; March 14 Abbotsford, BC; March 16, Seattle, WA; March 16 Bellingham; April 22, Riverside, CA; April 28 Pittsburgh, PA; May 10, Reykjavik, Iceland; ; May 12, Oslo concert. More details and links on these concerts.
She recently recorded Mirage for piano for a forthcoming CD titled ‘Mother Earth‘ that included works inspired by nature including composers Amy Beach, Marion Bauer, Henry Cowell, Edvard Grieg, Karen Tanaka, Bonnie McLarty, Elisenda Fabregas, Patrick Burke, Germaine Tailleferre, Robert Schultz, Katherine Hoover, Gwyneth Walker, and Kaja Bjørntvedt. More program details.
Resident musicians from Portland’s 240 Strings joined by resident musicians from New Haven’s Music Haven and flutist Nicole Rabata performed Portraits II for flute, violin, cello and piano on March 1, 2019, at Mechanics’ Hall, in Maine.
Portraits II was performed again on March 2 by the same performers including pianist Anastasia Antonacos at Corthell Concert Hall, Gorham Campus in the University of Southern Maine (USM) Concert Series.
On February 27, 2018, Patricia Caicedo performed “Tiempo de amor” in Barcelona, at the Col-legi de Metges'”, in a program of women composers from Catalunya and Latin America.
Pianist Jinha Park performed Homenatge a Mompou (Homage to Mompou) on September 5, 8:00 PM at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul. The program included Mozart Sonata K. 576, Rachmaninoff Variations on a theme of Corelli, Elisenda Fabregas, Homenatge a Mompou, and Schumann Carnaval.
I have always felt very close to Mompou’s music. I performed for him in Barcelona in 1978 right before going to study piano at the Juilliard School in New York City. A few years back, Mompou had performed and lectured on his music at The Juilliard School and he was well remembered and respected there. Mompou was a very imposing and tall man, with very large hands, but with a very gentle and quiet personality. While in New York I studied and performed most of Mompou’s music. The Catalan melodies in his music made me very nostalgic of my country. Later on, the study of Mompou’s music proved to be a powerful influence on my own compositional style. When in the summer of 2006 Marcel Worms approached me with the idea of writing an Homage to Mompou for the 25th anniversary of his death I was thrilled!Homenaje a Mompou is a set of three short pieces where I use quartal harmony and frequent changes of mood and pace. Because Homenaje a Mompou was commissioned to be premiered at an all-Mompou’s piano recital I decided to focus on the playful, joyous and rhythmic side of Mompou’s music so that my piece would provide some contrast with Mompou’s lyric style.
I. “Crits en el carrer” (Screams in the street) – I focus on the characteristic melodic and rhythmic motif (ascending and descending major second) of the beginning theme of “Cris dans la rue” from (“Scenes of infants”). My objective was to work with this melodic and rhythmic motif in different moods: from mysterious and longing to playful and energetic. A fragment of this characteristic theme is featured at the climactic center of the piece marked (Energico). Surrounding the theme appear short variations of the above-mentioned motif in diverse moods, sometimes in an abrupt manner without transitions.
II. “Tengo una muñeca vestida de azul” (I have a doll with a blue dress) – I emulate Mompou’s use of folksongs by featuring a Spanish children’s song: varying it and presenting it with different harmonizations and rhythms. The rhythmic motif of the folksong is a powerful force in this movement and it originates the new theme appearing at the Piu mosso in forte. Afterwards both themes and their variations start a conversation but the first theme has the last word.
III. “Jocs de carrer” (Street games) – This movement celebrates the most playful and rhythmic side of Mompou. It is a colorful piece featuring a characteristic propulsive rhythm in the main theme that permeates the whole movement. The use of clusters, glissandi, syncopations, insistent rhythms, and abrupt changes of harmony and register give color and restlessness to this movement. A varied quotation of a chord and melodic progression from Mompou’s Impresiones Intimas (III) appears in bars 56-60.
Voices of the rainforest for flute (alto flute), cello and piano (2007) was written for the Meininger-Trio, who performed the premiere at the Ibero American Institute in Berlin on March 14, 2008, followed by a live broadcasted performance at the WDR Radio Station in Cologne, Germany, on March 15, 2008.
Voices of the rainforest is a loose representation of a day in the life of the rainforest in Papua New Guinea. This work came about as a result of my life-long fascination and love for nature and a request from Christiane Meininger. A recording of actual sounds of insects, barking frogs, birds, and the singing of natives of the Papua New Guinea rainforest was the final inspiration for this work.
I. Awakening – At first a mix of darkness and light, then slowly the light filters through the tall trees taking over the darkness, and the stillness begins to move. Birdcalls and the incessant metallic buzzing of insects mark the beginning of a new day. The natives call this part of the day ‘from morning night’ to ‘real morning’. The flute starts with a birdcall that will be an important structural element in this work. This movement leads without interruption to the second movement.
II. Sago gatherers – During the ‘afternoon darkening’ human voices appear in the forest. The Kaluli women in Papua New Guinea cut and collect ‘sago’, an essential food plant in their diet. They sing haunting monotonous calls inflected with irregular accents while they work. First is one voice, and then other voices join in like a cacophonous choir.
III. Evening rainstorm – “wind arrives, sounds explode”. Cicada calls, barking frogs and the insistent metallic buzzing of pulsing insects brings “afternoon darkening” and the arrival of the daily downpour, the wild wind, the random crash of weak branches, the sonic boom of thunder … a cacophony of sounds.
IV. Voices of ‘inside’ night –The expressiveness of the ‘alto flute’ reflects on the mystery of the rainforest night and the quiet sorrow of the creatures within.
V. Night spirits is an abstract representation of a ceremonial night-dance by which natives drive their dead (spirits) away. Hundreds of dancers run wildly to the edge of a central fire while the chorus sings a song, the dancers then move wildly, doing a circling dance around the fire until dawn, driving the spirits of the dead away and leaving the tribe in peace.