Xavier Montsalvatge

Composer. Born 11 March 1912. Died 7 May 2002
Xavier Montsalvatge
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1912-03-11
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/8823e127-b2c6-40b6-a4de-f8e2d8e1e1b8
Xavier Montsalvatge

Xavier Montsalvatge Biography (BBC)

Like Pachelbel with his Canon, Sinding with his ‘Rustle of Spring’, Rodrigo with his Concierto de Aranjuez – perhaps even, at least for the wider public, Barber with his Adagio – Xavier Montsalvatge didn’t realise he was writing a piece of music about to become so popular that it would obscure everything else he had written. But that’s just what happened when he produced his ‘Lullaby for a Little Black Boy’, at the request of Mercedes Plantada, a family friend. It generated such enthusiasm that Plantada came back and asked for an entire set. And thus Montsalvatge – through no fault of his own – joined the league of one-work composers.

Xavier Montsalvatge was born on 11 March 1912, in Girona, north of Barcelona. His first music lessons were taken in the Catalan capital, where his teachers included Luis Millet and Jaime Pahissa – figures of considerable local importance. After a sound training at the Barcelona Municipal Conservatory he headed north, to Paris, as had Falla, Rodrigo and Mompou before him, and the tart sounds of Les Six soon made themselves heard in his own music.

Just as Rodrigo’s neo-Classicism helped keep the postcard Hispanicism of an earlier generation at an ironic distance, so Montsalvatge’s music took a further step towards modernism, gradually embracing 12-tone elements without ever abandoning tonality – and it always sounded Spanish, despite its sometimes astringent language.

Of Montsalvatge’s 100-plus works, around a quarter were for orchestra. The first was the Simfonia Mediterrànea of 1948 (the year in which Puss in Boots, the first of his three operas, also appeared), while the last, Tri-cronomia sobre un pastoral de invierno, was finished in short score only four days before he died.

His catalogue contains much for piano and many other songs (and choral pieces) besides the Cinco canciones negras; his chamber music includes the punchy Cuarteto indiano of 1951 – a further indication of his interest in music from the non-Iberian Spanish-speaking world.

The hallmark of Montsalvatge’s music is clarity. He complained that a lot of modern music was over-scored and unnecessarily complex – not a charge that can be levelled against his own transparent textures. He wrote to please his performers, not to push them, and once observed, only a little tongue-in-cheek: ‘The most difficult thing is to write something simple’.

Montsalvatge was an influential professor of composition at the Conservatorio Superior in Barcelona, and for 60 years was also active as a critic: he worked for the Catalan daily El Mati before the Civil War, and latterly was critic for – and director of – the magazine Destino; he wrote for the newspaper La Vanguardia, too, giving up criticism (which kept him abreast of contemporary trends in music) only when advancing age prevented him getting out and about.

Right up to his last days (when he had the satisfaction of seeing his work begin to appear systematically on CD) his faculties were crystal-clear: he retained a vivid curiosity and always had a kind word ready for younger musicians who consulted him – leavened with a piquant sense of humour.

Profile © Martin Anderson

Xavier Montsalvatge Biography (Wikipedia)

Xavier Montsalvatge i Bassols (11 March 1912 – 7 May 2002) was a Spanish composer and music critic. He was one of the most influential music figures in Catalan music during the latter half of the 20th century.

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Xavier Montsalvatge Tracks

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Xavier Montsalvatge
Canciones negras 4. 4.Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito & 5. 5.Canto negro
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Canciones negras 4. 4.Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito & 5. 5.Canto negro
Xavier Montsalvatge
Canciones negras 1.Cuba dentro de un piano
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Canciones negras 1.Cuba dentro de un piano
Traditional Catalan, Orquesta Ciudad de Barcelona, Luis Garcia Navarro, Victoria de los Ángeles, Lluís Claret & Xavier Montsalvatge
El cant dels ocells [bird's song]
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El cant dels ocells [bird's song]

El cant dels ocells [bird's song]

Composer
Traditional Catalan
Performer
Luis Claret
Music Arranger
Conductor
Luis Garcia Navarro
Xavier Montsalvatge
Divertimento No. 2 Habanera
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Divertimento No. 2 Habanera
Xavier Montsalvatge
Concierto Breve
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Concierto Breve
Xavier Montsalvatge
Partita for Orchestra
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Partita for Orchestra
Xavier Montsalvatge
Canto Negro
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Canto Negro
Xavier Montsalvatge
Cinco canciones negras
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Cinco canciones negras

Cinco canciones negras

Performer
Beatriz Miralles
Singer
Mercedes Gancedo
Xavier Montsalvatge
Cuba Dentro de Un Piano (Cinco Canciones Negras)
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Cuba Dentro de Un Piano (Cinco Canciones Negras)
Xavier Montsalvatge
Cinco Canciones Negras: Punto de Habanera & Cancion de Cuna
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Cinco Canciones Negras: Punto de Habanera & Cancion de Cuna
Xavier Montsalvatge
Desintegració Morfològica de la Xacona de J.S. Bach
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Desintegració Morfològica de la Xacona de J.S. Bach

Desintegració Morfològica de la Xacona de J.S. Bach

Performer
Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Edmon Colomer (Conductor)
Xavier Montsalvatge
Tres Piezas para la mano izquierda - II. Una Pagina Para Rubinstein
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Tres Piezas para la mano izquierda - II. Una Pagina Para Rubinstein
Xavier Montsalvatge
Four songs from Cinco canciones negras
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Four songs from Cinco canciones negras
Xavier Montsalvatge
Sonatina para Yvette
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Sonatina para Yvette
Xavier Montsalvatge
5 Canciones Negras For Voice And Piano - Canto Negro
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5 Canciones Negras For Voice And Piano - Canto Negro
Xavier Montsalvatge
Cinco Canciones negras
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Cinco Canciones negras
Mats Lidström
"Yambamo, yambambe!" (Cinco canciones negras)
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"Yambamo, yambambe!" (Cinco canciones negras)
Xavier Montsalvatge
El gato con botas: Cat/Princess duet , Act 1
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El gato con botas: Cat/Princess duet , Act 1

El gato con botas: Cat/Princess duet , Act 1

Performer
Anush Hovhannisyan
Paul Wingfield
Rachel Kelly
Last played on
Xavier Montsalvatge
El gato con botas: King's entrance, Act 1, sc. 3
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El gato con botas: King's entrance, Act 1, sc. 3

El gato con botas: King's entrance, Act 1, sc. 3

Performer
Michel De Souza
Paul Wingfield
Last played on
Xavier Montsalvatge
5 Canciones negras
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5 Canciones negras
Xavier Montsalvatge
5 Canciones negras for voice and piano
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5 Canciones negras for voice and piano
Xavier Montsalvatge
'Canto negro' from 5 Canciones negras
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'Canto negro' from 5 Canciones negras
Xavier Montsalvatge
'Cancion de cuna' from 5 Canciones negras
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'Cancion de cuna' from 5 Canciones negras
Xavier Montsalvatge
Madrigal sobre un tema popular for soprano, cello and strings/piano
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Madrigal sobre un tema popular for soprano, cello and strings/piano
Xavier Montsalvatge
Calidoscopi simfonic
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Calidoscopi simfonic
Xavier Montsalvatge
Partita for orchestra
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Partita for orchestra
Xavier Montsalvatge
Simfonia de requiem for soprano and orchestra
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Simfonia de requiem for soprano and orchestra
Xavier Montsalvatge
5 Canciones negras, arr. for voice and orchestra [orig. for voice and piano]
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5 Canciones negras, arr. for voice and orchestra [orig. for voice and piano]
Xavier Montsalvatge
2 songs from Cinco Cancionces Negros - Canción de cuna para dormi a un negrito & Canto neg
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2 songs from Cinco Cancionces Negros - Canción de cuna para dormi a un negrito & Canto neg
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