GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 23, 2016, 05:50:35 AM

Title: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 23, 2016, 05:50:35 AM
If Vicente Martín y Soler (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,18504.0.html) (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.

Quote
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
(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/11/Forbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_HARMONIA-MUNDI_Soler_Sonatas_Diego-Ares_Laurson_1200-1200x469.jpg?width=960)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/11/23/classical-cd-of-the-week-ersatz-scarlatti-diego-ares-plays-antonio-soler/#ffc8e5469876 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/11/23/classical-cd-of-the-week-ersatz-scarlatti-diego-ares-plays-antonio-soler/#ffc8e5469876)
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on January 05, 2018, 07:19:33 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51iHW9xGgnL._SX425_.jpg)


[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.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on January 05, 2018, 08:02:02 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91fbUwyJJGL._SX522_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Xbg4B8vKL.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Jo498 on September 28, 2018, 11:44:55 AM
Not much going on here. I have had a few Soler disks for several years but got back to him because a month or two ago I stumbled over the EMI disc with Marie-Luise Hinrichs from the late 1990s (Todd has a very laudatory thread for this pianist somewhere.) Hinrichs on piano seems to focus more on the "melancholy", pensive aspects. Whereas Belder (Brilliant) on harpsichord has more of the "Spanish gypsy guitar" flavor. I had the first volume for a few years but re-listening I liked it so much that I just ordered the Brilliant (not complete, I think) Box.
I also have an older CD with Scott Ross playing a selection and the Fandango variations with Staier (but in this case it is the only Soler piece on the disk) And one of the chamber disks with Brosse shown above. But as far as I remember the keyboard music is more distinctive than the quintets.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Jo498 on October 08, 2018, 11:00:06 AM
I now got the Brilliant-Box with Belder. The sonatas on the two discs with fortepiano are completely different from the roughly Scarlatti-like earlier pieces (played on harpsichord by Belder). They are in 4 movements but with a rather uncommon order, typically starting with an andante, followed by an allegro, a (often longish) menuet and another fast movement. While these are quite nice, at first listening I clearly prefer the "Scarlatti-like" ones.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on October 14, 2018, 07:24:38 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71znNFTtUzL._SY425_.jpg)

[Cross posted in WAYLTN thread.]

What's better than Soler's sonatas for a single keyboard?  How about concertos for two keyboards!  OK, the works aren't necessarily better, they are more or less qualitatively equal.  And they offer something different.  I own few if any other recordings with two harpsichords, and, at least as recorded here, the aural impact of two harpsichords is most intriguing.  First one notices the rich lower frequencies.  In a good number of dual piano recordings, the middle and upper registers start to dominate, but here, unexpectedly, it's the lower frequencies that dominate.  When the instruments double the same notes or when they cover a wider range of lower register notes than a single player or even four-hands combo can, the music becomes underpinned by an almost pianistic weight.  Sweet.  Then there's the melodic content.  Soler offer the dual soloists some wonderfully contrasting material, and when combined with the spatial split when listening through speakers, one can aurally and almost visually enjoy related but different music being played simultaneously.  The music lacks the ultimate pristine craft of Bach, but it's not far behind.  And while the two keyboard works, like the solo keyboard works, lack the rhythmic flair of Scarlatti, Soler is again not far behind.  I've been spending some quality time with Soler's solo keyboard works this year, and this augments that quality time.  Most enjoyable. 
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Que on October 14, 2018, 09:34:04 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71znNFTtUzL._SY425_.jpg)

[Cross posted in WAYLTN thread.]

What's better than Soler's sonatas for a single keyboard?  How about concertos for two keyboards!  OK, the works aren't necessarily better, they are more or less qualitatively equal.  And they offer something different.  I own few if any other recordings with two harpsichords, and, at least as recorded here, the aural impact of two harpsichords is most intriguing.  First one notices the rich lower frequencies.  In a good number of dual piano recordings, the middle and upper registers start to dominate, but here, unexpectedly, it's the lower frequencies that dominate.  When the instruments double the same notes or when they cover a wider range of lower register notes than a single player or even four-hands combo can, the music becomes underpinned by an almost pianistic weight.  Sweet.  Then there's the melodic content.  Soler offer the dual soloists some wonderfully contrasting material, and when combined with the spatial split when listening through speakers, one can aurally and almost visually enjoy related but different music being played simultaneously.  The music lacks the ultimate pristine craft of Bach, but it's not far behind.  And while the two keyboard works, like the solo keyboard works, lack the rhythmic flair of Scarlatti, Soler is again not far behind.  I've been spending some quality time with Soler's solo keyboard works this year, and this augments that quality time.  Most enjoyable.

I share your appreciation of Soler, who was inspired by Scarlatti's example, added some Spanish flavour and developed towards Classicism. I also share your appreciation of these pieces for two harpsichords  as well (or organs, but sofar the former works better for me).  This has been my favourite performance:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ecAk5Jk-L._SS500.jpg)

Q

Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Jo498 on December 11, 2018, 12:17:54 PM
Can anyone comment on the Naxos Soler recordings? Some (all?) on harpsichord with Rowland and an ongoing series on modern piano with different youngish pianists.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on December 11, 2018, 06:00:27 PM
Just my 2 cents: I have 2 discs of the Naxos series by Rowland. I love his playing and his instruments sound beautiful. The same goes for his (unfinished) Scarlatti integral. He is one of the best harpsichordists I’ve heard in this repertoire. Rather different from Mario Raskin (on Pierre Verany), but just as good. I prefer both to Belder’s Brilliant series.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on December 12, 2018, 07:56:27 PM
I’ve compared Belder, Raskin and Rowland in sonatas 25 and 84 (his most famous one). Belder has by some margin the least interesting instrument at his disposal. It lacks resonance, with a wooden quality hinting at a tangent piano. Nowhere in the notes or back cover is there any mention of the instrument used.

Raskin, playing a flemish instrument offers a more integrated, tighter sound, with just enough brilliance. The Naxos notes indicate that Rowland plays a Wooderson based on Goetz (Paris). Does that mean it’s a french instrument? His playing is sonically the most brilliant and coruscating of the lot. It’s also freer rythmically. Sonata no 84 has a scarlattian sparkle under his hands that is irresistible. When listening to a whole disc, recital-like so to speak, I think Raskin holds his own better in the long run. Argentinian-born, Raskin has lived in Paris since the 1980s. He claims his influences are Rafael Puyana and Scott Ross.

There is a difference in build between german, english, dutch/flemish, italian and french instruments. Consequently the sound produced is likely to differ. Spanish instruments (Soler had a Diego Fernandez instrument at his disposal) were closely modeled on italian ones. He also had an english harpsichord sent to him by Broadwood, as well as two unspecified (presumably small) instruments in his monk’s cell. It makes the choice of instrument an interesting element for both player and listener.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/07/Formes_de_clavecins.PNG/300px-Formes_de_clavecins.PNG)
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Jo498 on December 13, 2018, 02:14:15 AM
Thanks fpr this interesting information. Belder plays an instrument by Cornelis Born after Giusti. So I'd guess it is an italian style one?
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on December 13, 2018, 07:23:30 AM
Thanks for the info, I couldn’t find it in the Brilliant booklets. If that’s the case, it’s the same instrument as in his Scarlatti series. Bom is a well-established harpsichord builder from the Netherlands.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Mandryka on December 13, 2018, 08:23:49 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81afZLnqoLL._SY355_.jpg)

Inspired by this thread I just listened to a handful of sonatas on this recording by Bob Van Asperen. While I can see, or rather hear, the link to Scarlatti, I wonder if Soler is actually the more interesting composer, more interesting expressively and indeed contrapuntally, less pointlessly repetitive, just as colourful.

Asperen in this volume is supple and he knows how to bring out the inner voices, how to make the music sound more than just a straight line from start to end, how to make it go beyond just nice keyboard sounds. I haven’t heard any of the rest of his set.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on December 13, 2018, 12:45:10 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81afZLnqoLL._SY355_.jpg)

Inspired by this thread I just listened to a handful of sonatas on this recording by Bob Van Asperen. While I can see, or rather hear, the link to Scarlatti, I wonder if Soler is actually the more interesting composer, more interesting expressively and indeed contrapuntally, less pointlessly repetitive, just as colourful.

Asperen in this volume is supple and he knows how to bring out the inner voices, how to make the music sound more than just a straight line from start to end, how to make it go beyond just nice keyboard sounds. I haven’t heard any of the rest of his set.

An entirely valid question. It came to my mind when I started listening to Soler, then I stopped trying to figure it out  ;).
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on February 24, 2019, 07:05:32 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/811vAXGqx8L._SY425_.jpg)


[This will be cross-posted in the WAYLTN thread]


It took me a while to work through all of Barbara Harbach's Soler set.  The set is recorded very close and sounds exceedingly clear, lending an almost forensic feel to the whole thing.  Harbach's playing reinforces that feeling.  She tends to play just a bit on the slow side and most definitely on the deliberate side.  One can enjoy every note of every arpeggio, every agogic, every everything.  Hell, when she plays chords, it seems as though one can hear every individual string being plucked.  The playing lacks rhythmic variability and snap in faster sonatas and introspection or poetry or whatever other slow music attributes one may listen for.  She's no Frederick Marvin or Marie Luise Hinrichs. But then they play on piano.  Harbach's set is an impressive achievement, and I will occasionally pluck out a disc and listen in the future.  After completing this set, I think I should sample more Soler via streaming.  Alas, there is no single pianist complete keyboard music set, but there are other complete harpsichord sets.  I got some listening to do.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Mandryka on February 24, 2019, 10:37:39 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71h7fMWEIdL._SY355_.jpg)

Another rather good one which makes me think that this composer is probably worth exploring more. I mean on this recording it's not just a whirlwind of notes, and it's not just rhythms pounded out with boots on the keyboard. Ares makes it mean something humane, makes it express some feelings which kind of matter a bit. If that makes sense at all.  The music may also be unusually good, it's from a recently discovered manuscript and as far as I can tell doesn't figure in Asperen's set -- I've still only heard one of the CDs there.


The instrument is sensational, and sensationally recorded  -- ,

Quote
harpsichord by Joel Katzman, Amsterdam 2009
 after a Sevillian harpsichord attributed to Francisco Pérez Mirabal, 1734
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on March 02, 2019, 06:47:41 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71kSBfOXaNL._SS425_.jpg)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71AfPAvylsL._SS425_.jpg)

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61JXNEBiNRL._SS425_.jpg)


I found Isidro Barrio’s recording of Liszt’s complete Harmonies to be uneven, with a somewhat battered sounding piano, but with moments of romantic abandon.  There was enough there to hear something else from him.  Turns out Soler is just the ticket.  The piano again sounds a bit shy of ideal, and Barrio sometimes seems a bit loosey-goosey, but there’s a romantic sensibility to his playing that infuses this decidedly baroque music with a sense of life and energy that is irresistible.  Too, one can appreciate his tonal resources a bit more.  In some ways, his approach reminds me of Mikhail Pletnev’s Scarlatti, though less sublime in execution, vision, and sound.  It is great good fun, though.  The Koch Swann recordings are not the last word in sound quality.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Mandryka on March 02, 2019, 09:34:29 AM
I like what Barrio does, in small doses obviously, I even like his piano sound, and normally I’m not a fan of the instrument - is it a regular piano or is it unusual in some way? I even wonder if it’s tuned equally or not. The sound of the piano on the recordings seems to suit the music well.

I had to look up the expression loosey-goosey, it’s not Queen’s English. The loosey-goosey style seems to me a major strength in fact, I like loose gooses.

Anyway, i noticed that he’s recorded some Beethoven and Schumann too, so I’ll check that out some time.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on March 09, 2019, 06:25:04 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91m4q2Z4pZL._SS425_.jpg)


Anna Malikova.  Bright, clean, turbo-charged Soler.  Low on nuance, high on energy.  A practical alternative to coffee.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Mandryka on March 10, 2019, 01:43:29 PM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91m4q2Z4pZL._SS425_.jpg)


Anna Malikova.  Bright, clean, turbo-charged Soler.  Low on nuance, high on energy.  A practical alternative to coffee.

I think that's a bit unfair. She's energetic in the energetic sonatas, less so in the less energetic sonatas.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on March 16, 2019, 06:02:16 AM
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I previously listened to a two harpsichord set of the Concertos for Two Keyboards.  I decided I should try the organ version.  Unsurprisingly, I rather like this, but somewhat surprisingly, I prefer the harpsichord version.  This set is obviously heavier and never generates the same rhythmic snap.  It does, however, sound more tonally varied.  Pick your poison.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on March 23, 2019, 06:12:28 AM
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[This will be cross-posted in the "New" Music Log thread]


Well, hot dog!  Here's an unexpected delight.  Soler wrote a half dozen quintets for keyboard and string quartet, and here an all-Spanish group of musicians deliver the goods.  Rosa Torres-Pardo, whom I've heard in Albeniz and Balada, and the Cuarteto Breton, whom I've heard in Guridi, play all six works on both discs with an irresistible sense of fun and energy and a generally very sunny disposition.  To be sure, this is as non-HIP as a recording can get, but so what?  For probably the first time in my listening experience, I thought to myself "Hey, that sounds a lot like Boccherini", and meant it in a purely positive way.  The buoyancy, gentle rhythmic swagger, and light but not slight music just grooves.  Ms Torres-Pardo plays her part in a very Soler-Scarlatti type of way, really delivering - to the point where I would very much like to hear what she can do solo in Soler - but really, it's the Breton who make the disc work.  Being familiar with Soler's keyboard writing, I was pleasantly surprised to hear how well he writes for strings.  To be sure, the string writing does sound rather influenced by music of the time (ca 1770s), but then so does most of the music of time, or at least the music I've heard from the time.  These works are also available in harpsichord and strings and organ and strings (!) alternatives, and perhaps one day I try one of those, but this twofer caught me off guard, in a most pleasant way.  This is why it's always good to try new things.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on March 30, 2019, 10:21:09 AM
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I took some time to work through the nine volumes of Bob Van Asperen's Soler cycle on Astree that Amazon has available for streaming.  Asperen is close to the polar opposite of Barbara Harbach.  His playing is energetic and energized, generally speedy, and less focused on detail and more on drive.  That's not to say that Asperen skimps on detail, just that his approach is not as perhaps overly prepared as Harbach's.  There's also something of the sense of adventure and discovery evident in Scott Ross' great Scarlatti set.  One almost gets the sense that the keyboardist just learned a sonata and was eager and excited to record it.  It makes for at times bracing listening.  Almost all of the sonatas come off well, with the Fandango a most pleasant diversion.  The individual standout sonata, though, is 60b, from volume eight.  It's something.  I think I should try Gilbert Rowland's set, which, as luck would have it, can be streamed in its entirety.

Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on April 06, 2019, 07:23:19 AM
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Here's a surprising disc.  I don't recall ever even having seen the name André Gorog before.  But this recording popped up while looking for things to stream.  I'm glad it did.  This is punchy, staccato laden, snappy and generally quite fun playing.  It does not offer the last word in nuance - it's sort of the opposite of Mare Luise Hinrichs - but Gorog plays some fine Soler.  The Fandango sounds just nifty.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on April 13, 2019, 05:25:06 AM
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Some choral works from Soler.  Undeniably baroque and very Spanish sounding - meaning it shares some stylistic similarities with other Spanish baroque music I've listened to - the disc starts off a bit less than maximally engaging, but quickly picks up.  Not Bach or Handel level, perhaps, but well worth a listen.  The ensembles, named after the composer, do some good work.  Maybe Glossa can do a complete Soler set.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Todd on April 20, 2019, 10:14:01 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71VzvMhZTLL._SY425_.jpg)


I worked my way through Gilbert Rowland's Soler set, and I have to say, it seems like a Goldilocks set.  More energetic and engaging than Harbach, and more meticulous and studied - though not overstudied - than Asperen, it seems to get everything just about right.  The now vintage recordings are a bit more distant than the other two sets, and the instruments, as recorded, lack some body, but those are minor concerns.  Rowland brings out all the goodness in Soler, almost to Marvin levels of commitment at times.  I should probably try Rowland's Scarlatti now.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: André on April 20, 2019, 06:10:23 PM
Rowland’s Scarlatti is my hands down favourite for the long run. AFAIK only half of the sonatas have been issued. I’ve never been able to complete the series.
Title: Re: Fr. Antonio Soler's Sole Abode
Post by: Mandryka on April 21, 2019, 12:09:33 AM
Well I just did a scientific experiment. I listened to 117 and 130, they're the first two sonatas in Asperen v.12, and I listened to them played by Asperen and Rowland. In op 117, what Todd said seemed pretty true, Rowland is indeed "more meticulous and studied - though not overstudied - than Asperen." But in 130 Asperen seems to me to find a lyrical, poetic, melancholy, which eludes Rowland. Go figure.