Review from EPTA PianoBulletin by Christo Lelie
Recensie van EPTA PianoBulletin van Christo Lelie
Review Christo Lelie ( English Translation)
If asked, most people would say Barcelona is Spain’s second city. Most Barcelona residents would argue it is not a Spanish city, but the Capital of Catalonia. In recent years it has become obvious that the Generalitat de Catalunya wants to secede from Spain.
This is still the ambition of the Catalans, last February’s elections gave evidence of this, with the separatists securing a majority. Such a division would be economically unfavourable for Spain and European unity. Whether Catalonia can thrive without Madrid’s governance is a question, that does not need to be answered in this piano magazine.
Catalonia differs from Spain in many ways. The Catalans speak their own language and have their own national character, culture and music. Anyone who wishes to become acquainted with their music are advised to purchase the beautiful CD of Catalan piano works by Carol Ruiz.
The pianist herself is Catalan, albeit has lived and worked in the Netherlands for many years where she studied at the conservatory in Utrecht with Alan Weiss. She is a musically warm-blooded and both technically exceptionally gifted pianist, who is regrettably not yet widely known in our country.
After her (first) CD “Nocturnes”, which was also favourably reviewed by this magazine, she makes an even greater impression with her recordings of piano works by her compatriots, all composers from the end of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century.It is remarkable that two of the most famous “Spanish” composers, Albéniz and Granados, were born in Catalonia. Their music though, is much more Spanish rather than specifically Catalan.Nonetheless, Carol Ruiz recorded works by Enrique Granados in her CD program. She ends with Allegro de Concierto, that is preceded by Granados’ very virtuoso and vibrantly interpreted graceful Danza no. 2 “Oriental”. That work has a delightful theme that, once you’ve heard it, you’ll never forget.Granados is, in a sense, one of the most famous Great Spanish composers. His most famous truly Catalan colleague is without a doubt Federic Mompou. Carol Ruiz has presented six substantial compositions by him.Mompou is best known because of his short, often intimate and dreamy pieces that he brought together in his four books Musica callada. Ruiz leaves these musical treats undisturbed as she opted for his lesser known most extroverted and virtuoso works.
Ruiz opens her program with delightful playing music: the five-part cycle Scenes d’enfants. It is followed by the diptych Gitanes. Filled with a delightful melancholy and nostalgia, is Ruiz’s own, refined transcription of Mompou’s beautiful song Damunt de tu nomes les flors. After that, a multitude of moods can be heard in Planys. Ruiz ends her Mompou program with the numbers 6 and 8 from the Canciones y Danzas. lesser known counterpart of Mompou was Manuel Blancafort. His Absència is of a poignant sadness that contrasts sharply with the following, cheerful L’orgue dels cavallets (the carousel organ).These pieces have an accessible, late-Romantic idiom with a southern warmth, which we can instantly relate to in earlier works inspired by the Iberian Peninsula by Debussy, Ravel and other French composers of the period.Strongly influenced by Debussy (during his Impressionist period) stood Ricard Lamote de Grignon. This lesser-known Catalan is represented in this album with the spicy staccato piece Foc Follet (wandering light) and the atmospheric impression El convento dels peixos (the monastery of the fish).As an encore in style, Ruiz plays her own arrangement of El Cant dels Ocells (Song of the birds), which has become well known thanks to the world famous Catalan cellist Pablo Casals. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, Casals voluntarily exciled himself to France, opponent as he was of the Franco regime that had forbidden all manifests of Catalan culture. Since then he started all his concerts with this traditional Christmas song, making it one of the national symbols of Catalonia.
Listening to Ruiz’ beautifully recorded CD is like a journey through the beautiful Catalonia. Especially now that this region still seems inaccessible for the time being due to the pandemic, “Mompou and more” is an excellent substitute for a plane ticket to the sun.
“Mompou and More” on different radio shows
“Mompou and More” is gedraaid op verschillende radio programma’s
Live presentation from “Mompou and More” at the Classical Radio (Radio 4) in The Netherlands! Use the link bellow to listen and watch the interviews and live concert.
Live presentatie van “Mompou and More” De ochtend van 4” in de artiesten Foyer! Om het terug te kijken gebruikt het volgende link:https://www.nporadio4.nl/fragmenten/video/2021-01-22-de-ochtend-van- 4-biedt-een-podium-aan-nederlandse-musici
Artist of the month chosen by Artenzza Magazine!
My Cd is played at Radio 4!
Mompou and More is gedraaid in radio 4!
check out this link by 0:49:22
je kan het terug luisteren via deze link bij min 0:49:22
Mompou and More is on Spotify!
Here you can find my music/ Hier vind je mijn muziek.