Joaquín Torre / Cammerata Orchestra

Alfonso Romero Asenjo: Cello Concerto; Concerto for Two Violins; String Symphony

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The music of composer Alfonso Romero Asenjo (1957-) is rooted in the neoclassicism of Turina and perhaps, in its quieter moments, Mompou. However, it somehow sounds entirely of today, because of what the annotations here aptly call "selective use of the avant-garde." This release, part of Naxos' fine "Classics from Spain" series, offers works from various parts of Asenjo's career. From the evidence here, Asenjo seems to have gotten more concise as he's gotten older. The Divertimento, written in 1995, is a little gem. Its three movements are just over six minutes long, and there is nothing that takes it out of the realm of conventional tonality, but an extreme rhythmic economy is added on to the neoclassic elements. Or sample the finale of the Concerto for two violins and string orchestra, an homage to Bach that grows into its Bach references rather than stating them at the outset. Sample the finale, where Asenjo carefully layers parallel dissonant intervals onto the straightforward Bachian tunes. The opening String Symphony is in a similar neo-neoclassic vein, if you will; the Cello Concerto is a weightier, more nocturnal work. All of the music gets crisp performances from the Cammerata Orchestra under Joaquín Torre, and lovers of Spanish neoclassicism are guaranteed to enjoy this music.

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