Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Benet Casablancas and "The Dark Backward of Time"

Spanish composer Benet Casablancas (b. 1956) is a new one for me. He is a modernist with an inventive flair and a sure hand at orchestra color and orchestration. A serious listen to his new CD The Dark Backward of Time (Naxos 8.579002) shows a composer in a mature phase, a master of orchestral gesture. The title piece is a whirlwind of orchestral excitement, building layers of sound density that nevertheless have appealing transparency and dramatic impact.

Four other compositions are included on this set, covering a span from 1981 to 2006. All show a style that stands apart from his contemporaries and an increasing mastery of the palette that a full orchestra can provide the imaginative crafter of sounds. Salvador Mas-Conde conducts the Barcelona Symphony and the Catalonia National Orchestra with assurance and sympathy to the composer's aims.

This is a fine disk and a welcome addition to recordings of modern Spanish orchestral music. Recommended.

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