Author Topic: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)  (Read 2324 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« on: March 16, 2014, 11:32:19 AM »


Catalonian composer Xavier Montsalvatge began violin lessons at the age of nine, around the same time as his father's death and his move to Barcelona to live with his grandfather. This move later allowed him to attend the Barcelona Conservatory and numerous concerts that greatly influenced him. His teachers at the conservatory were Francisco Costa for violin and Enrique Morera and Jaume Pahissa for composition. He himself became a teacher at the school in 1933. His first important works were the 1934 Tres impromptus for piano, for which he won the Rabell prize from the Patxot Foundation, and the Suite burlesca, for which he won the Pedrell prize in 1936. Rejecting the legacies of Wagner and Richard Strauss that dominated in Spain at the time, he was instead attracted to the works of Les Six and Stravinsky and made his first trip to Paris around 1934. He also soon began writing musical criticism for local papers, eventually writing for the weekly publication Destino for more than 30 years, as well as for La matì and La Vanguardia. The 1940s were fruitful years for Montsalvatge. He began a series of teaching jobs in prominent schools in Barcelona. He met fellow Catalan composer Federico Mompou in 1942. He married Elena Pérez de Olaguer in 1947 and a son was born in 1949. Compositions from the period include 19 ballets for the Paul Goubé/Yvonne Alexander company and the Album de habaneras, songs he had collected in the West Indies. Cinco canciones negras of 1945-46, also with a West Indian influence, and his first opera, El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), remain his most popular works. A daughter was born in 1952, and the next year, both Henryk Szeryng and Alicia de Larrocha asked for concertos from him. Through the next decades, he continued to write, teach, and compose, producing works in nearly every genre and winning numerous awards and honors along the way. In the 1980s, he wrote an autobiography that was published in both Spanish and Catalan, and in 1989, a piano competition was founded in his name. He retired from his official positions in the early 1980s, but continued composing into the 1990s, becoming one of the most respected composers of twentieth century Spain.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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Didn't see any thread regarding Montsalvatge. Would be interested in learning more about him and seeing any of our Spanish GMGers knows anything about his music.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 12:05:32 PM »
A few works I thought I'd share:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/TDdqNB9b6HY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/TDdqNB9b6HY</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sPnm4lZfUk4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sPnm4lZfUk4</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/yX6BPuLz77U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/yX6BPuLz77U</a>
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline ritter

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 12:08:23 PM »
Hello, Mirror Image!

I see you've purchased quite a few Montsalvatge CDs...

I'm one of the Spanish GMGers you refer to, I suppose  ;) . I'm sorry to say that I'm not really that familiar with Montsalvatges's output, as his style is very distant from the kind of music I personally feel closer to. In Spain he is a well known figure, but is hardly regarded as a major composer. His best known work is the Cinco Canciones Negras, particularly the Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito (the title would be considered slightly politically incorrect these days):

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/xzfEg8K1HTk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/xzfEg8K1HTk</a>

I myself saw his opera Babel 46, and found it quite ugly  :( ...A post-WWII refugee (melo-)drama, that reminded me of Gian Carlo Menotti (The Consul), but even worse.. >:( . Fortunately, the second part of the evening was Ravel's enchanting L'Enfant et les sortilèges, so that made my visit to the opera house worthwhile  :) .

But, of course, these are very personal thoughts. I hope your exploration of Montsalvatges's music proves enriching, and that you disover virtues in it that have so far eluded me... :)

Best regards,
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 12:27:14 PM by ritter »
ritter
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« Je me suis rarement perdu de vue ; je me suis détesté, je me suis adoré ; puis, nous avons vieilli ensemble. »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 12:24:40 PM »
Thanks for the feedback and personal commentary, Ritter. I'm not going into Montsalvatge completely blind as I do own a Marco Polo disc with Sinfonia de Requiem and Concierto Breve on it. But I still have so much to listen to. Let me ask you why do you feel isolated by his style of composition?
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline ritter

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 12:38:27 PM »
Let me ask you why do you feel isolated by his style of composition?
Pinpointing what makes me dislike Montsalvatge may not be that easy, but I'll try. I think his style is eclectic, but in the worst sense of the term. Post-romantic at some moments, post-neoclassical (if such a term exists  ;) ) at others, and it all ends up being rather bland, nondescript and impersonal, reminding me of the worst kind of film music.. ::)

Perhaps my aversion is exaggerated by the (negative) impact the opera Babel 46 had on me in performance; the subject matter was lurid, the music sounded dated...it was quite an unpleasant experience overall... :o

P.S.: Friends of mine here in Spain who's opinions I tend to appreciate, hold the work Desintegración morfológica de la chacona de Bach in high regard. I can't understand what all the fuss is about  ::), but here you go:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/4PlmK970ur0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/4PlmK970ur0</a>


« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 12:45:10 PM by ritter »
ritter
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« Je me suis rarement perdu de vue ; je me suis détesté, je me suis adoré ; puis, nous avons vieilli ensemble. »

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2014, 12:45:48 PM »
Thanks for the feedback and personal commentary, Ritter. I'm not going into Montsalvatge completely blind as I do own a Marco Polo disc with Sinfonia de Requiem and Concierto Breve on it. But I still have so much to listen to. Let me ask you why do you feel isolated by his style of composition?
Didn't you just duplicate the Polo on Naxos?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2014, 01:21:01 PM »
Didn't you just duplicate the Polo on Naxos?

I did. I duplicated Concierto Breve and Sinfonia de Requiem. I'm not sure what else.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002)
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2014, 01:22:20 PM »
Pinpointing what makes me dislike Montsalvatge may not be that easy, but I'll try. I think his style is eclectic, but in the worst sense of the term. Post-romantic at some moments, post-neoclassical (if such a term exists  ;) ) at others, and it all ends up being rather bland, nondescript and impersonal, reminding me of the worst kind of film music.. ::)

Perhaps my aversion is exaggerated by the (negative) impact the opera Babel 46 had on me in performance; the subject matter was lurid, the music sounded dated...it was quite an unpleasant experience overall... :o

P.S.: Friends of mine here in Spain who's opinions I tend to appreciate, hold the work Desintegración morfológica de la chacona de Bach in high regard. I can't understand what all the fuss is about  ::), but here you go:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/4PlmK970ur0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/4PlmK970ur0</a>

Again, thanks for the feedback, Ritter. I'll keep your opinions in my thoughts as I explore his music, but I already enjoy a few of his works already. :) I'll check out that work you linked later on tonight.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:43:32 PM by Mirror Image »
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich