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Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2020

Joan Manén was an admired and prolific Catalan composer who wrote in all genres, from opera to transcriptions. He was also one of the leading violinists of his day and made the first recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Manén’s Violin Concerto No. 3, Ibérico, is a brilliantly written and unashamedly Romantic work that exudes Iberian vitality. Cast on a huge scale, the Symphony No. 2, Ibérica, calls for an exceptionally large orchestra, with music that is pastoral, Spanish-flavored, and, at times, solemn. © 2020 WFMT (Chicago)




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2020

Ana Maria Valderrama succeeds in a passionate and virtuoso interpretation of the Violin Concerto from 1940. Her colourful and dazzling playing combines with the excellent symphony orchestra from Barcelona to make an attractive recording.

Singapore born Darrell Ang (he won both the Besançon Conducting Competition and the Toscanini Competition), delivers a thrilling account of the Second Symphony, composed between 1954 and 1958. It lasts 55 minutes and is a really great work which, despite its Spanish themes, is not folkloristic. There is a lot of conflict and drama in the first movement. The second movement is a lively scherzo with rustic insertions. The Andante pesante alternates between pessimistic, gloomy thoughts and more hopeful moods. Darrell Ang gives it an incredibly intense and expressive performance. The virtuoso finale gains drama and power through powerful brass and wide violin themes. And so this post-Romantic symphony ends in full splendour. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review



Records International, September 2020

Although known in his own time as a virtuoso violinist, this Catalonian musician also left a significant number of compositions including seven operas and nine orchestral works (his first violin concerto appeared on Naxos in October 2016—10S047). The 1940 concerto is a brilliantly written and unashamedly Romantic work whose ample 43-minute, three-movement form exudes Iberian vitality without recourse to Hispanic effects. Cast on a huge scale, the Symphony, in four movements and lasting 55 minutes (1954-58), calls for an exceptionally large orchestra, whose outer movements seem to be concerned with conflict (although a Spanish-flavored theme appears in the finale), a lively scherzo and a solemn but radiant slow movement. © 2020 Records International





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