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David W Moore
American Record Guide, November 2011

This composer’s harmonic style is free…The concepts are interesting, mainly on the chamber music side in sound. I enjoyed it and it is likely that you will, too.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2011

Born in Spain in 1931, Xavier Benguerel spent his formative years in Chile before returning home in 1954, and there soon established himself as a largely self-taught composer. Often working to commissions, he has composed in most genres, the present disc containing four works for soloist(s) and orchestra. Dating from 1944, Concertante is a dialogue between solo guitar and an orchestra of strings with three percussionists. In one continuous movement subdivided into many sections, the long quiet orchestral introduction is rudely interrupted by the guitar. The soloist will later have an extended and demanding cadenza before an energetic orchestra dominated conclusion. Music for Percussion and Strings had been completed four years earlier, the percussion consisting of marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, bells and glockenspiel. Of much the same length as Concertante, there is dark happenings in the orchestra to contrast with the bright sounds of the tuned percussion. If it throws challenges to the soloist, it is hardly less demanding on the strings. By 2004 atonality had almost devoured Benguerel’s style, Porta Ferrada Double Concerto, having the soloists—violin and cello—in an aggressive confrontation with the orchestra. A year on and the guitar concerto, Concert de Tardor, is full of spicy pungency for the soloist, Spanish music having travelled a long way since the days of Rodrigo. The guitarist, Jaume Torrent, carries much of the disc, his technique dealing admirably with pages black with notes. The booklet leads us to believe the Orchestre Perpignan Mediterranee is a student ensemble formed for the annual Perpignan festival. If so it must be bristling with outstanding young talent, these ‘live’ 2006 performances so totally assured in the most exacting music. Soloists much up-front but the recorded sound is suitably punchy.

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