JOAN MASSIA (1890 - 1969)
Joan Massià (1890–1969) was a virtuoso violinist trained in Brussels by Alfred Marchot (himself a pupil of the legendary Eugène Ysaÿe). In his youth, Massià formed a magnificent duo with Blanche Selva – the French pianist who gave the première in Paris of Albéniz’s Iberia – and for some years they undertook intensive and successful concert tours throughout Europe. Many of Massià’s compositions were for the piano – he was a distinguished amateur pianist and a talented improviser. Composed in 1924, El gorg negre (The black pond) was his first piano piece, a miniature gem, descriptive in nature, with its origins in late Romanticism. Ten years later, in 1934, Massià wrote the Scherzo, following the model of Chopin’s scherzos, with a virtuoso first section, a softer and more lyrical central interlude – the Trio – and concluding with a brilliant coda. This piece contains some of the elements that would come to typify Massià’s music: the use of bare fifths, chords with parallel fourths and fifths, polytonal fragments and melodic phrases suggestive of Catalan folk music.