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American Record Guide, July 2014

Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and a dozen members of the Perspectives Ensemble perform [Cinco Invocaciones al Crucificado] with searing emotion. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, June 2014

Sasha Cooke sings marvellously throughout and the playing is immensely assured and committed.

Technically the recording is spotless and Sato Moughalian’s informative liner notes…are exemplary.

Those whose only acquaintance with Montsalvatge’s music so far has been the Cinco canciones negras should grab the opportunity to expand their knowledge by acquiring the present disc. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, June 2014

This disc won me over in its first twenty seconds—the skittering, playfully dissonant opening passage of Xavier Montsalvatge’s Folia Daliniana for four solo winds, strings, and percussion.

Mezzo Sasha Cooke unleashes seamless, beautifully shaped tones that float alluringly on the shimmering string accompaniment of the Perspectives Ensemble, conducted with sensitivity by Angel Gil-Ordóñez.

Montsalvatge’s music has that distinctive stamp of cohesive, self-assured originality that defines composers of the first rank.  This disc, with its unusual, intriguing repertoire and outstanding performances, deserves a wide hearing. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review

Christian Carey, March 2014

…the two vocal works, Madrigal sobre un tema popular, which teems with attractive folk dance rhythms, and 5 Invocaciones al Crucificado, an affecting meditation on Christ’s passion, are given standout performances by the extraordinarily talented mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Violinist Tim Fain supplies an energetic and adroit rendition of the solo part in the neoclassical work Concertino 1+13, and flutist Sato Moughalian and pianist Blair McMillen negotiate the more modernist environs of Serenata a Lydia de Cadaques with technical skill and thoughtful musicality. The Perspectives Ensemble, conducted by Angel Gil Ordonez, provides stalwart support throughout. The disc is an excellent snapshot of a composer whose perseverance during the repressive time of Franco’s regime yielded a great deal of memorable music. © 2014 Read complete review

Steve Smith
The New York Times, February 2014

…you couldn’t ask for a better introduction to his elegant, refined and piquant oeuvre than this vibrant collection by New York City’s Perspectives Ensemble. A well-balanced selection of pieces…the disc is further abetted by the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke’s ravishing voice and the violinist Tim Fain’s bravura solo work. © 2014 The New York Times Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2014

The Perspectives Ensemble under conductor Angel Gil-Ordonez brings us lovely performances that exemplify Montsalvatge in various stylistic guises…

Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, does a fine job with the “Madrigal”…and the “Cinco invocaciones”. Tim Fain comes across well as the violin soloist on “Concertino 1 + 13”…and Sato Moughalian’s flute sounds excellent on the “Serenata a Lydia de Cadaques”…along with the piano of Blair McMillen. There are other soloists peppered throughout the program and they all come across with a lyric panache.

This is wonderfully performed music and clearly there is much to be gained in pleasure and enlightenment in partaking of the program’s many high points. I don’t think you’ll find a better introduction to the composer, certainly not at the Naxos price. It whets my appetite for more, but it also fills the bill for those who know Montsalvatge but do not have many or most of these works. Brilliant! © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, January 2014

Montsalvatge’s more-substantial works reach beyond ethnicity to communicate with cross-cultural genuineness that is highly effective—especially so in his major song cycles, such as Cinco invocaciones al Crucificado (1969), sung with intense feeling on Naxos’ new CD by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and conducted with sure-handed skill by Angel Gil-Ordóñez…Cooke also gives a lovely rendition—with cellist Wendy Sutter—of Madrigal sobre un tema popular (1991)…Other pieces here are Folia daliniana (1995), a fantasy with elements of Impressionism; Serenata a Lydia de Cadaqués (1970) for flute (Sato Moughalian) and piano (Blair McMillen); and the very interesting Concertino 1+13 (1975), in which violinist Tim Fain is “first among equals” with Gil-Ordóñez’ very adept chamber ensemble. Montsalvatge’s music will be something of an acquired taste for those unfamiliar with it, but it is a taste worth acquiring: one whose emotional communicativeness and structural strength quickly grow on a listener through repeated hearings. © 2014 Read complete review

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, January 2014

Xavier Montsalvatge was one of the most important Spanish…composers of the 20th century but he hasn’t received the degree of recognition to which he should have been entitled. This latest recording is as good an introduction to his music as any and it’s well performed…and recorded… © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2013

Born in Spain in 1912, Xavier Montsalvatge was trained to be a violinist, though the music world was enriched by his decision to devote much of his life to composing. Though claimed by his native country, it was to France he looked for inspiration, with a particularly affinity to Ravel and Debussy, a fact readily apparent in this superbly performed disc. It opens in the quirky world of Folia daliniana, a showpiece for woodwind quartet backed by a small instrumental ensemble, each of the instruments enjoying long passage of solo virtuosity. The most extended score comes with Cinco invocaciones al Crucificado for mezzo-soprano and a small ensemble that includes an array of percussion instruments. The other extended score is the Concertino 1 + 13 from 1975, the three movements featuring a solo violin with thirteen string instruments, the composer having a fling with neoclassicism that surrounds a smooth and slinky central moderato. The performances are centered on the New York based, Perspectives Ensemble…They are obviously a top quality group who move around the composer’s many musical faces with dedicated commitment. Tim Fain is a fine soloist in the Concertino, while the mezzo, Sasha Cooke, has already featured on an award winning 2012 Metropolitan Opera recording. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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