A treasure of Catalan songs

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In the recently released Bridge Records CD Visca l’amor, Mexican-American tenor Isai Jess Muñoz joins Israeli-American pianist Oksana Glouchko in a recital of Catalan songs by Eduard Toldrà, Ricard Lamote de Grignon, Narcís Bonet, Frederic Mompou, Elisenda Fábregas, and Joan Comellas.

Comprising three dozen songs by six Catalan composers, the selections include many gems representing the post-Romantic lyricism of Toldrà, Lamote, Mompou and Comellas, all four of which belong to the generation born during the last decade of the 19th century. The more declamatory-dramatic style of Elisenda Fábregas (b. 1955) brings the CD to an impressive close with her Imitació del foc

Except for that of the younger Fábregas, the creative and personal lives of five of the six composers represented on the Bridge Records CD were in one way or another deeply affected by the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, a tyrant who ruled over Spain between 1939 and 1975. During those 36 years Franco systematically repressed the Nationalist movements in both the Basque Country and Catalonia. As a result the work of many Catalonian composers and performing artists was ignored or worse, censored so that to this day many musical compositions by Catalan musicians sit unpublished in a sort of cultural limbo in private libraries and estates.

Fortunately, the golden-voiced tenor Isai Jess Muñoz has set out to unearth many of these neglected gems not only by performing them but by collecting them and making them available to his students at the University of Delaware. This is a labor of love worthy of praise which one cannot stint on: Isai Jess Muñoz is a singing artist of the highest caliber, one who bestows his supple lyric tenor voice on this music obtaining by virtue of impeccable vocalism, sensitive musicianship, and a fine way with words a first class performance of songs from an unjustly ignored segment of the art song literature. Pianist Oksana Glouchko contributes to the impressive results of this one of kind recital with her superb accompanying.

We look forward to hearing more future offerings from Muñoz and Glouchko.

Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com


Eduard Toldrà (1895–1962) – La rosa als llavis

Si anéssis tan lluny…Mocador d’olor…I el seu esguard …I el vent deixava dintre la rosella…Seré a ta cambra amiga…Visca l’amor

Ricard Lamote de Grignon I Ribas (1899–1962) – Cants Homèrics

A les Muses i a Apol…A Zeus…A Afrodita

Narcís Bonet (b. 1933) – Haidé

Com una flor …Ves qui t’ho havia de dir…Jo porto el teu pensament

Frederic Mompou Dencausse (1893–1987) – Combat del Somni

Damunt De Tu Només Les Flors…Aquesta Nit Un Mateix Vent…Jo Et Pressentia Com La Mar

Elisenda Fábregas (b. 1955) – Imitació del foc

Inici de campana…Escolto la secreta…Pluja brodada…Ardent hymne

Joan Comellas (1913–2000) – Les Paraules Sagrades