Catalan Violin Works – Janna Gandelman • Laia Martín

In the first half of the 20th century, Catalan instrumental music was dominated by the piano and the cello. Works for the former instrument by Enrique Granados and Isaac Albéniz contributed a great deal of original music that combined a knowledge of Spanish and Catalan heritage with original material; for the cello, Pablo Casals wrote and commissioned a good deal of original music expressing the pride he felt in his home region. As a result, the importance of the violin in Catalan music is often overlooked. Anyone hearing the programme on this new album for the first time will recognise a number of popular tunes in versatile arrangements, while noting the skill of Catalan composers in producing highly original works for violin and piano.

The versatility of Catalan songs has seen them much in use in arrangements for violin and piano, with Fritz Kreisler and Joseph Szigeti enthusiastic champions of their virtuoso potential and melodic charm. In addition to arrangements, this programme has plenty of original works for violin including Gaspar Cassadó’s substantial Violin Sonata, Enrique Granados’s fulsome Romanza and Federico Mompou’s rhapsodic Altitud, with Jordi Cervelló’s sparkling ‘test piece’ Prova di violino bringing us well into the 21st century.

Listen to an extract from Granados’ Romanza in E flat major
About the Artists

Born in Moldavia, Janna Gandelman began violin lessons at the age of five and won numerous competitions in the former Soviet Union. After emigrating to Israel in 1979, she continued her studies and was accepted to be a part of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, performing in many countries around the world and winning several competitions. She has been a member of many acclaimed music ensembles in Israel and has served as concertmaster of the Israel Camerata, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Flemish Chamber Orchestra.

Spanish pianist Laia Martín performed her first recital for Jeunesses Musicales Spain, and has since performed at venues in Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Andorra, Portugal, Greece and Israel. She is a piano teacher at the Issi Fabra School of Music and the Pirineus Music Conservatory, and a music history teacher at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She is the co-director of the Puigcerdà Music Festival and of the Musical Nights of Santa Cecilia, and the director of the Conference on Artistic Research in Music of the Pyrenees.

More programmes of music by Catalan composers
‘Both artists, in this warm recording, depict and characterise this music with an instinctive understanding of its idiom.’
The Strad
‘As for the Barcelona-born pianist Jordi Masó … his playing here is both distinguished and delightful. Factor in a splendid, atmospheric recording and this collection becomes irresistible.’
MusicWeb International
‘Spanish Mezzo Nerea Berraondo is well established in opera ... and has also worked in early music. Her diction is superb, her balance with guitar is perfect, her tone is warm and dependably beautiful. German guitarist Eva Beneke[’s] ... playing is also consistently beautiful, sensitive and expressive, with a flawless technical command.’
American Record Guide
Song of the Stars
Granados • Casals • Blancafort

Voices of Ascension • Keene • Riva
Kruczek • Kiesewetter
‘This is an exceptional programme, full of rewarding new encounters, very respectably recorded—and especially noteworthy for Manuel Oltra’s Eco and Preludio and Granados’ often strange and wonderful Cant de les estrelles. Highly recommended!’

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