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Songs of Paolo Tosti


Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)

L'ultimo bacio.
Donna, vorrei morir.
L'ultima canzone.
L'alba sepàra dalla luce l'ombra.
Non t'amo più.
La serenata.
'A vucchella.
Vorrei morire!...
Chitarrata abruzzese.

Francisco Corujo, tenor. Ángel Cabrera, piano.

Musicstry Studios. TRT® sound (calibration 2.4b). Recorded: April 27 and May 4 2014. Released: January 23 2020. Photo: Fran García. Liner notes: José Luis García del Busto. Producer: Mario Martínez. PC13005 ℗ & © 2021 Play Classics.

Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)

Born in Ortona (Italy) in 1846, Francesco Paolo Tosti studied music in his hometown and at Naples Conservatory, where he was a disciple of the renowned Saverio Mercadante. Success smiled upon him when he became known in Rome as a singer and songwriter: the Princess (later Queen Consort) Margherita Teresa of Savoy, who wished to have Tosti as her singing teacher, soon became one of his admirers. He received great praise for teaching this music specialty while his songs quickly achieved growing and sustained success. Settled in London where he obtained the British nationality, Tosti was singing teacher to Queen Victoria and Edward VII, and was raised to the nobility in 1908 by the latter. Upon the King’s death in 1910, Francesco Paolo Tosti returned to Italy and died in Rome during the First World War in 1916.

Generationally Tosti can be found between Amilcare Ponchielli and Giacomo Puchini, which means he experienced Italian romanticism at its peak, which was musically dominated by opera, a music genre ruled by Verdi. But neither his singing role nor his capacity for melodic creativity or his inclination to write songs where the voice would be revealed in all its splendour made Tosti show interest in opera. His talent was indeed not theatrical but strictly lyrical. He never addressed grand genres, his world revolved around singing, a product he deemed as condensed, well­rounded, self­sufficient and highly communicative. He didn’t need anything else.

Undoubtedly Tosti chose the right path. His songs immediately found success and were therefore requested by performers and editors. Almost all tenors (and we should suppress the “almost” when referring to Italy and Spain) have willingly performed Tosti’s songs, taking advantage of their melodic inspiration, their warm expressivity and of course the possibilities they offered to singers to show off their raw material as well as their vocal technique. Out of interest, it is worth noting that among the Tosti performers of the 1900s was Alessandro Moreschi, who was well­known not as much for his exquisite musical talent as for the fact that he was the last castrato.

And as demonstrated by this CD, Tosti remains a litmus test and a hallmark even well into the 21st century.

José Luis García del Busto

Francisco Corujo

Born in Lanzarote, Francisco Corujo is one of the most promising young Spanish tenors, with awards in competitions such as Francisco Viñas or Iris Adami Corradetti. He received his training in Spain and Italy, with Mary Oran in Canarias, Manuel Cid and Tom Krause in the Reina Sofia School of Music, and Carlo Bergonzi in the Accademia Verdiana in Busseto. His repertoire includes operas such as Traviata, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Cosi fan tutte or Romeo and Juliet. He is also an accomplished performer of oratorio and symphonic with Mozart's Requiem, Puccini's Glory Mass or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He has worked with conductors such as Plácido Domingo, Jesús López Cobos, Phillipe Entremont, Joseph Pons, Giancarlo Del Monaco, Emilio Sagi, Liu Já, Nicola Luisotti, Luc Bondi, Eric Hull, Michael Zilm, Robert Carsen, Vassili Petrenko and Mario Pontiggia.

He made his debut in 2006, with Die Fledermaus by Strauss for the Amigos Canarios de la Ópera in Las Palmas, Mozart's Idomeneo in the Teatro Real in Madrid, and as Macduff in Verdi's opera Macbeth in La Coruña. Thereafter Francisco debuted in the major concert halls and theaters in Spain and Italy such as Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, Fenice in Venice, Verdi in Salerno, Arena in Verona, etc...

Ángel Cabrera

Born in Guadalajara, Spain, in November 1977, Angel Cabrera began to improvise on the piano from a very early age, encouraged by his father who played various instruments by ear. Indeed, this was how Cabrera came to develop his affinity with and love for music, and what led him to begin his piano training at the Music Conservatory under Esther Zillarbide. Subsequently, he studied under maestros of the calibre of Fernando Puchol, Luis Rego, Galina Eguiazarova, Márta Gulyás, Boris Bloch and Aldo Ciccolini.

At a later stage, he had the honour of working side by side for ten years with the great Finnish baritone, Tom Krause, with whom he discovered a new universe of sound. Through their philosophy of life and way of understanding music, Tom Krause and Aldo Ciccolini became his greatest artistic and personal influence.

Cabrera shows himself to be a deeply passionate artist possessed of an exceptional diversity of touch, which enables him to play the most complex works with an astounding facility. His performances, brimming with poetic expression and incomparable technical control, make for a fascinating listening experience. "Ángel Cabrera transports us to some imaginary childhood planet with Debussy's "Deux Arabesques", a repertoire that he plays with absolute perfection, breathing the very air of the music and making it breathe..." says the La Nueva España newspaper, to which Ine Noticias adds, “an exquisite taste and outstanding technique” and Horizons states, “Ángel Cabrera, more than anybody else, knows how to communicate this powerful and creative spirit, with an artistic vision swathed in candour and hope".

Cabrera is also an enthusiastic and committed chamber musician who collaborates with leading artists such as Iwona Sobotka, Teresa Berganza, Helen Donath, Manuel Cid, Francisco Corujo, Manuel Lanza and soloists of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Berlin Ensemble, performing at some of the most prestigious concert venues around the world.

In addition to Cabrera's many live recordings for RNE (Spanish National Radio), RTVE (Spanish Radio & Television), Radio France and Canal Internacional, recording projects meriting special mention include his “Songs of Paolo Tosti” with Francisco Corujo, and Frédéric Chopin's complete song cycle with Iwona Sobotka, both released on the PlayClassics label.

Aside from the prizes won at the 1st José Iturbi International Music Competition of America, 16th José Iturbi International Piano Competition of Valencia and 9th Concours-Grieg International Piano Competition of Oslo, Ángel Cabrera has also received awards for his performances of Spanish Music, Edvard Grieg and Frédéric Chopin.

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