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Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, November 2010

Given skillful, animated accounts by the chamber orchestra Barcelona 216, all are fascinating.

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David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2010

Born in Spain in 1956, but having studied composition in Vienna, Benet Casablancas has written, ‘it may be a vain hope, but my principal aim is to move people’. That he is composing in the world of atonality and is seeking out new sounds, often created by unconventional methods, does demand receptive ears. The seven scenes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet are preceded by words from the play, the following music being the composer’s reaction, the most extended section coming with the mixed emotions of Ophelia’s response to Hamlet’s rejection. The easy point of contact with the work comes in the sixth section where words are spoken over atmospheric music. We move forward a year, to 1990, for the three Epigrams where Casablancas generates sound idioms by short bursts of music. A further two years and we come to the Petita musica nocturna, abstract to my ears, though the writer of the accompanying notes sees a mysterious dreamlike atmosphere between feverish activity. In modo di Passacaglia is the most extended single-movement work. A twelve-note theme followed by forty variations makes a challenging score for the five instruments. Finally the 1997 New Epigrams, far more explosive than the earlier work, the added complexity offering more textures in which we may discover the entry key to Casablancas. Barcelona 216 is a group that can appear in  different size and permutations as the music demands, and is dedicated to propagating  the contemporary scene. It will be for our children’s children to decide which of today’s composers will reach posterity.

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