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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, January 2019

…This is an enjoyable caprice of a program, not quite so arresting as some of Balada’s orchestral work but still reflecting his unique imagination, primary-colored textures, and abundant good humor. These robust performances are recorded in the close-up house style… © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review

David W Moore
American Record Guide, November 2018

Col Legno takes over again to help the solo clarinetist with Capricho 7, Fantasies of La Tarara. Also written in 2009, this 24-minute score takes us through Obsessions, Surprises, Intimate, and Frenzy. This is worth hearing…

Taken as a whole, this is a fine addition to Naxos’s coverage of Balada’s music. The playing is mostly sensitive to the demands of this highly imaginative composer. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2018

Ensemble col Legno under Robert Ferrer prevail for most of the numbers and they get the whimsical nature of these works just right. Luis Fernandez-Castello is the soloist on clarinet for the bulk of this music and he is nicely puckish. Other soloists are top-notch as well.

All-in-all there is nothing quite so crisply Modern in the harmonic-melodic zone while being so playful and good humored. It is the playful side of the composer on view and it is a delight to hear. Recommended. © 2018 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2018

Naxos issued the first disc of Caprichos by Leonardo Balada in January 2011, the present release containing his most recent addition with the Tenth from 2013. Each of them has explored various combinations of instruments, the Sixth written for clarinet and piano; the Seventh for clarinet and instrumental ensemble, and the Tenth for violin, cello and piano. I commented when the earlier disc first appeared that in a long life—Balada is now eighty-five—he has passed through many different compositional styles, and here we find him in the Twenty-first century, still owing something to Stravinsky’s later years. It is not atonal in the strict use of that description, but rather a personal reworking of tonality, melodic invention intertwining with a new use of ‘sounds’. This is particularly true of the Sixth, where the piano has the most important part, the opening disjointed as the score represents human moods—anger, tears, anguish and shivers—each very clearly projected. The Seventh is the most extended lasting close on twenty-four minutes and scored for a small chamber group of which the piano is prominent. The composer likens it to a surrealist canvas, which is a perfect description. Again it creates moods—obsessions, surprises, intimate and frenzy—and offers the colourful use of the solo clarinet. The Tenth is very short and based on a Catalan folk melody, La Pastoreta, and played by a trio of violin, cello and piano. Ballet City started out as a student work for The Juilliard Modern Dance Company and came straight from the Second Viennese School. Spiritual for cello and piano could well be described as ‘Alban Berg discovers jazz’. The performances are dedicated, the recorded sound being cleanly defined if just a little boxy. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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