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Blasco de Nebra's Sonatas

available at Amazon
M. Blasco de Nebra, Keyboard Sonatas 1-6 / Pastorelas 2/6,
J. Perianes

(released on May 11, 2010)
Harmonia Mundi HMC 902046
All pianists looking for some 18th-century alternative programming should put the name of Manuel Blasco de Nebra (1750–1784) on their list. He was organist at Seville Cathedral, like his father before him, and his father also happened to have been Soler's teacher. Blasco de Nebra the Younger wrote many keyboard works -- subtitled "para clave y fuerte-piano," so meant for either harpsichord or the new instrument that had made its way to Spain at that point -- but only thirty (or so) works survive, mostly in manuscript copies (including one set here in Washington, in the collection of the Library of Congress -- there are likely a few others lurking around in archives somewhere, waiting to be discovered). In his sonatas he favored a multi-movement format, with rudimentary sonata-allegro forms in many of them, showing the influence of Haydn and others, while maintaining a love of flashy figuration from Scarlatti and Soler. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes is not the first to record them, as there is a projected complete set in the works from Pedro Casals, also on modern piano (Naxos), and selections have been offered by Carole Cerasi (harpsichord and fortepiano, Metronome) and Tony Millan (piano, Almaviva). Having heard none of them except Perianes, I am in no position to recommend a choice, but the Perianes recording is enough to recommend the composer, and Perianes offers a clear, rhythmically vital performance that is a fine introduction. He also programs two of the pastorelas, which have the feel of mini-suites, composed of an introductory slow movement, a litling, pastoral inner movement, and a closing minuet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have the Carole Cerasi and the first two Pedro Casals discs and they are good.As I prefer period instrument performances the Cerasi is my preferred version but I have been surprised by how much I enjoyed Casals first CD. The Tony Milan recordings are on youtube and I don't think they are very good and are best avoided.