In this second volume of his survey of Cuban composers for the piano, José Raúl López presents the work of Nicolás Ruiz Espadero (1832–90), the most prominent name in Cuban music in the second half of the nineteenth century, both at home and abroad. Espadero’s output ranges from delicate Chopinesque salon miniatures to barnstorming Lisztian operatic paraphrases that demand a fearsome virtuoso technique to do justice to their high-Romantic swagger.
José Raúl López, piano
Preludio (c. 1889) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track02.mp3
5 Grands Transcriptions https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track03.mp3
Innocence-caprice, Op. 23 (c. 1850) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track04.mp3
5 Grands Transcriptions https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track05.mp3
Pureza y calma (1889) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track07.mp3
Ossian Polka (late 1850s?) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track08.mp3
Sur la tombe de Gottschalk, Op. 68 (1870)* https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track09.mp3
Valse idéale, Op. 60 (publ. 1874) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track10.mp3
Souvenir d’autrefois (Nocturne), Op. 11 (late 1850s?) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track11.mp3
5 Grands Transcriptions https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0544/Track12.mp3
ALL EXCEPT* First recordings
Catalogue No: TOCC0544EAN/UPC: 5060113445445Release Date: 01.11.2019Composer: Nicolás Ruiz Espadero Artists: José Raúl López
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Dennis E. Ferrara :
“As a living musician, Espadero was very well-known in Cuba as well as throughout Europe and especially in Spain. He was an extremely good friend to Louis Moreau Gottschalk and imitated him in his musical and artistic style of composition which is most evident throughout these very colorful and interesting volume one recital; however, Espadero was a rather strange and extremely distant human being. He never traveled and was extremely shy among people; moreover, it is hard to full understand why he was so popular as a piano instructor.
The playing by Jose Raul Lopez here is full of energy, tonal color, a total understanding for the music as well as expression, nuance and at times a true flair for the dramatic. This sterling artist has done much research into the composer and the compositions selected here are a reflection of several tuneful ‘salon’ pieces which were extremely popular throughout the 19th century. The operatic transcriptions are not paraphrases or reminiscences as found in the brilliant operatic transcription by Liszt or Thalberg; rather, for the most part, these ‘Grands Transcriptions’ reflect more on individual arias, choruses and even duets. Yet, there is at times a colorful flair for the dramatic and Signor Lopez certainly plays several of them in the grand manner. The other pieces certainly reflect Gottschalk’s musical influence and style; nevertheless, pieces such as the Ossian Polka, Valse ideale, and Innocence – caprice are really delightful and full of Cuban charm.
Curious as a very well known composer/pianist of his times, he never composed any concertos, orchestral or even extended chamber works. Being a close friend of Gottschalk, Espadero’s ‘Sur la tombe de Gottschallk’ first received its first premiere recording by Antonio Iturrioz on a Steinway album entitled, Gottschalk and Cuba as found in review later on AMAZON.
Excellent program notes are available which certainly add to the interest and background into this reclusive composer pianist as well as an interesting aspect of the history behind Cuba and its music of the 19th century.”
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