David's Review Corner
, January 2010
Too soon we have come to the end of the surviving music of Manuel Blasco de Nebra, a composer who once held an important position within the musical life of his native Seville. He died in 1784 at the early age of thirty-four, but is thought by then to have composed around 170 scores for keyboard, of which only 26 sonatas have been discovered. This new release presents four of the six from the book residing in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the first two contained in a previous release. He may never have heard the sonatas of his compatriot, Antonio Soler—who just predated him—but there is more than a degree of similarity in style, Soler always having the more imaginative thematic material. At his most inspired, as in the Allegro molto to the Fourth and the Presto to the Fifth, he is a most invigorating, and it is those tracks that make good sampling points. We have to thank the young Spanish pianist, Pedro Casals, for rediscovering the music, much of the three volumes being recorded for the first time. In the much larger world of piano music he is a multi-award winner, and here shows a crisp and clean articulation. History may decide they are not great works, but I would hope they find their way into the harpsichord repertoire to which they would be well suited. Sound quality is outstanding.