Javier Perianes

Blasco de Nebra: Piano Sonatas

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The fame and enormous output of Domenico Scarlatti inspired various followers and imitators in Spain in the third quarter of the 18th century. The present disc is devoted to one of the least-known but potentially most interesting: Manuel Blaso de Nebra, who worked in Seville and died in 1784 at the age of 34. Most of his music, with the exception of some 30 works, has been destroyed. The Op. 1 group of sonatas excerpted here was published in 1780; the rest of the music comes from an undated monastery manuscript but seems to come from the same period. Potential buyers of this disc ought to be sympathetic to highly pianistic recordings of Scarlatti, but the choice of a modern instrument is reasonable in Blasco de Nebra's case; there's a good deal of evidence that Scarlatti, working several decades earlier, at least had the sound of a fortepiano in his head. And he took the potentially pianistic qualities of the music farther than did contemporaries like Carlos Seixas and even Antonio Soler; the sonatas, sizable two-movement structures, stand up to the Romantic treatments given them by pianist Javier Perianes. Sample the highly expressive material at the beginning of the Sonata in E minor Adagio movement (track 11); it's hard to imagine that really being done justice by a harpsichord. The two Pastorelas at the end of the program have clearer Baroque antecedents but are unusual in form; each opens with a slow movement, has a middle movement marked Pastorela, and ends with a minuet: they are unique adaptations of Classical multi-movement form to the pastoral idea from the Baroque universe, and they're quite charming pieces. Perianes and annotator Justo Romero (whose notes appear in Spanish, English, and German) succeed in their aim of stimulating further interest in this composer, whose music languished in libraries and churches until comparatively recently.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1
1 6:09
2 4:18
Sonata No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 1
3 5:54
4 3:27
Sonata No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 1
5 5:36
6 3:52
Sonata No. 3 in D major, (from the manuscript 2998) "Archives of Montserrat"
7 6:19
8 2:10
Sonata No. 4 in C major, (from the manuscript 2998) "Archives of Montserrat"
9 5:54
10 2:30
Sonata No. 6 in E minor, (from the manuscript 2998) "Archives of Montserrat"
11 5:05
12 2:08
Pastorela No. 2 in F major, (from the manuscript 2998) "Archives of Montserrat"
13 4:08
14 2:11
15 1:06
Pastorela No. 6 in E minor, (from the manuscript 2998) "Archives of Montserrat"
16 5:37
17 3:32
18 1:22
blue highlight denotes track pick