Author Topic: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode  (Read 474 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
« on: November 23, 2016, 05:50:35 AM »
If Vicente Martín y Soler (1754 – 1806) has his own thread, so  Toni "Padre" Soler should, too! Certainly there's more music out there, of his output. I'll open a thread: Name-suggestions are welcome.

Antonio Francisco Javier José Soler Ramos, usually known as Padre ('Father', in the religious sense) Antonio Soler, known in Catalan as Antoni Soler i Ramos (baptized 3 December 1729 – died 20 December 1783) was a Spanish composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his keyboard sonatas, an important contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire..

Soler was born in Olot (Catalonia, Spain) in the historical County of Besalú. In 1736, when he was six, he entered the Escolania of the Monastery of Montserrat where he studied music with the resident maestro Benito Esteve and organist Benito Valls. In 1744, he was simultaneously appointed organist and subdeacon at the Cathedral of La Seu d'Urgell. Later in life, he was chapel master in Lleida and at the Royal Court in El Escorial. In El Escorial, he studied with professors about different subjects of music. [wiki]

Classical CD Of The Week: Ersatz-Scarlatti? Diego Ares Plays Antonio Soler

Offline Todd

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Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2018, 07:19:33 AM »

[Cross-posted in WAYLTN]

Now here's something to savor.  I've got a few discs of Soler sonatas, though just a tiny fraction of the full output, which as far as I know has been recorded thrice on harpsichord, with a piano set underway by Naxos.  This disc is different than others in that it is played by a man who was partly responsible for bringing Soler into the recorded age.  Frederick Marvin, who passed away last year at the age of 96, discovered Soler in 1946 in an obscure book published in the 20s, and then he unearthed Soler's sonata manuscripts in the Spanish monastery where Soler resided.  He also unearthed the Fandango in Barcelona.  Based on his research and collaboration with harpsichordists, he determined that the Fandango was written especially for the fortepiano, though some harpsichordists mastered it.  (Scott Ross seemed to have no problem with it, for instance.)  He also published his own edition of the sonatas.  For his efforts, Mr Marvin was honored by the Spanish government.  He also received some honors from the French government.  As a pianist, he trained with Artur Schnabel, Rudolf Serkin, and Claudio Arrau, and he recorded some Soler for Decca decades ago.  That disc is available on YouTube.  He also recorded some Liszt and some Dussek, but he seems to have largely disappeared from non-academic consciousness. 

This disc contains recordings from concerts given between 1969-86, and from two Soler festivals.  Some are obviously live as there is applause, and some seem to be transferred from LPs.  Sound quality varies, from acceptable-to-good to quite poor and riddled with noise.  (Around half the tracks have either remnants of other recordings resulting from taping over existing material or bad distortion or other noise.)  Marvin's playing is all good.  Real good.  He displays a rhythmic flexibility at least equal to Larrocha, though different, and though never retiring or too soft, he plays with a remarkably varied touch, with some ravishingly beautiful ornaments sprinkled throughout.  His trills can be a special delight.  Were he recorded in SOTA sound, I would not be surprised if his low end dynamics were as nuanced as those from Marie Luise Hinrichs; the Andantino MV12 more or less reveals that even with sub-par sound.  As if to drive home the point that Marvin can rock with the best of them, MV21 explodes out of the gate, showing he can deliver whatever needs to be delivered.  The disc ends with a poor-sounding, phase-challenged live recording of the Fandango.  He starts slow, but picks up the pace.  One can hear the approximation of castanets and guitars, and though one can tell this is live (ie, some obvious fudges), it doesn't matter a whit.  It's recreative art with of-the-moment inspiration.

I'll be streaming Mr Marvin's Dussek soon enough.  I may also explore some more Soler recordings this year, which, in concert with all the Mompou I plan to listen to, will give this year a Spanish flavor.

I think I'll contact Eloquence to suggest reissuing Marvin's Decca Soler properly.
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Offline André

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Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 08:02:02 AM »

Although I have a few discs of the sonatas on the piano and enjoy them, I prefer when they are played on the harpsichord. On the Pierre Vérany label, there are some discs by Mario Raskin that beat them all IMHO (the series seems incomplete, or some of them are impossible to find), as well as the 6 harpsichord quintets, music I absolutely adore. Above are 2 examples of these discs.