Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Luis de Pablo @ 75

Portrait imaginé (1974 rev 1994)
Com un epìleg (1988)
Stradivarius STR 33725

Paraiso y danzas macabras
Secunda Lectura (1993)
Razón dormida (2003)
ATMA ACD2 2353

Having followed the career of Luis de Pablo since before the days of CDs, it is a pleasure to have been able to immerse oneself in his music again for a couple of days. And especially gratifying that these latest recordings, of performances of excellence which can be taken for granted, span music from 1974 to 2003, and include some re-recordings (there is a tendency for over concentration on premières and the newest).

Feted in Europe and Canada especially, his neglect in UK since I sponsored his appearance as featured composer at the Huddersfield Festival is inexplicable. He remains fully active and is responding to numerous commissions, including a fifth opera for this year's Venice Biennale (I reviewed La madre invita a comer there in Opera, 1993).

The compositions on the Stradivarius disc are vocal, but both unusual. The hauntingly beautiful 55 mins Portrait imaginé for Ottawa (1974/1994 - wordless chorus and instrumental ensemble) has an affinity to Zurezko Olerkia, whilst Com un epìleg is sung in de Pablo's native Catalan.

Razón dormida, the latest work on the Canadian disc by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne/Vaillancourt, returns to de Pablo's fascination with the dark, 'deep pessimism' of Goya, though the vitality of this score belies that to some extent.

Segundo Lectura
(1992) is one of my favourites:
'a powerful distillation and concentration of the music of Senderos del aire (Tokyo, 1987) for large orchestra including saxophone and steel drums, and described by de Pablo as "a continuous metaphysical question mark, a stormy sonorous adventure based on the image of a grim, threatening, wind, swept landscape". Comparison of the two versions, both available on CD, demonstrates the composer's keen ear and sure command of instrumental and orchestral timbres'.

For fuller background, please click onto the links highlighted in BOLD.

These fine CDs, which are well documented, offer an ideal opportunity to explore Spain's leading contemporary composer, and to catch up if you don't know what you're missing!

Londoners will have an opportunity to hear Iñigo Aizpiolea and Iñaki Alberdi (accordion duo) give de Pablo's Three Pieces at the Royal Academy of Music on 20 January

© Peter Grahame Woolf