An evening with Riera
Federico Mompou (1893-1987)Variations sur un theme de Chopin:
Jaume Mas Porcel (1909-1993)Météores:
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)Trois mouvements perpétuels, FP 14a:
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Andreu Riera, piano.
Musicstry Studios. TRT® sound (calibration 2.4). Recorded: January 30, 31 2017. Released: January 23 2020. Photo: Joan Servera. Liner notes: Andreu Riera, Josep Prohens Julià. Producer: Mario Martínez. PC17001 ℗ & © 2021 Play Classics.
This album is a great example of how interesting, productive and special the relationship of the Spanish composers of the late nineteenth century and begining of the twentieth century was with the great French composers of the time during the splendor of musical impressionism.
At that time, everybody or almost everybody, passed through France, more specifically Paris (center and reference of the artistic creation of that period of history), to learn and soak up the work of Debussy, Poulenc, Ravel, Fauré, D'Indy, Satie ... and in turn nourish yourself with that unequaled artistic effervescence that was lived in Paris during those years, bathing not only music, but many other arts such as painting, literature. Conversely, also those French composers liked to use the rhythms and essences of Spanish music in their music, as Ravel in his dawn of the grazioso, Debussy in many of his preludes, Lalo in his Spanish Symphony.
Thus, Frederic Mompou, Jaume Mas Porcel and Manuel de Falla, could not resist the temptation to be in Paris, and bring that influence in to their music.
The Music of the works on this CD by Francis Poulenc, 3 mouvements pérpétuels and Melancolie, are a very good example of this impressionist sound, pianistic, elegantly enveloping and voluptuous, which clearly represent one of the sources of inspiration from which our Spanish musicians drank of that time.
The Impressionist miniaturism of the Catalan Frederic Mompou is well known in all his piano creations. In the variations of this CD, it is clearly a work of this style that also makes a nod and a tribute to his great idol Frederic Chopin. Many of the variations have the title and character of Chopin's creations: tempo di vals, tempo di mazurca. The theme he chooses for the variations is from the same Polish creator, a prelude in A major from his Preludes cycle. It also brings the peculiarity of its third variation, written only for the left hand, of great expressive beauty.
The music of the Spaniard Jaume Mas Porcel, not very well known by the general public, is curiously also connected with Mompou. Harmonically, coloristically, it is clearly impressionistic, but at the same time, its great reference is Frederic Mompou himself. This is clearly seen in this work, Météores, as well as many other creations of his for piano. They tend to be small and short pieces of music, with the minimum resources to create a dreamy and fantasy musical environment. Clearly a oneiric world with a miniaturist sound structure.
And finally, the music of the great and universally known Cádiz-born composer Manuel de Falla, perhaps our most well-known and internationally respected national composer. His Fantasia Bética, dedicated to his friend and admired Artur Rubinstein, with very difficult technique and musical performance, clearly represents one of the peaks of the relationship of nationalist Spanish music (with all its emphasis with national folk music, flamenco, its regional dances, etc ...), with the great French impressionist music of that time. Other musicians enchanted by this artistic binomial would be Albéniz and Turina. But clearly the Music of Manuel de Falla is the great exponent of this aesthetic, which in addition in another of his works, the concert for harpsichord, was influence by Igor Stravinsky, another one of the important musical pillars of the Paris of the beginning of the XX century.
About the interpreter
If I had to choose a musician (a pianist) to interpret any work, of any composer, of any era, this would be Andreu Riera, insatiable friend and musician, who never exhausts the resources to solve the "technical problems" that each work requires. Phrases like "El piano es toca millor si tens set de cultura", translated: "The piano is played better if you are thirsty for culture", give an idea of the depth with which he, this Mallorcan pianist from Manacor, faces every score from all its angles (melody, harmony, form, color and expressiveness) to achieve a perfect and original interpretation. In addition, he is an interpreter who identifies himself with any style of music: Baroque, Classicism, Romanticism, Impressionism, throughout the 20th century until 2018.
Riera is one of the most active and representative pianists of his generation. His teaching at the Higher Conservatory of Music of the Balearic Islands has given us the opportunity to know his virtues as a teacher and transmitter of his knowledge to students and society in general. He is a modest, humble, close and, above all, sincere, idiosyncratic person, difficult to find in our days.
His relationship with the piano is very well defined with what he stated in an interview: "The piano is my obligatory, daily activity. Truly, the piano is my confidant, the musical instrument that connects with my interior ". I think that this phrase alone defines the character of a person with deep knowledge of music and art in general.
For all the above I think it is a complete success that Riera wanted to record "Variacions on a theme of Chopin" by Frederic Mompou, "Méteorés" by Jaume Mas Porcel, "Trés mouvements pérpetuels" by Francis Poulenc and "Fantasía Bética" by Manuel de Falla.
In each of the variations of the prelude no. 7 of Chopin by Mompou, Riera knows how to impose his mastery by giving each of them the appropriate color so that they maintain a unity within the variety in what we call Variations.
The different parts of "Météores", dedicated to Mademoiselle Cristiane Senart, are of an extraordinary beauty. Jaume Mas Porcel, a twentieth century Mallorcan composer born in Palma and educated in the glorious times of Paris, knew how to print his compositional technique so that Impressionism shone in all its splendor.
"Trés movements pérpetuels" by F. Poulenc is a suite that Alfred Cortot described as "reflections from the ironic perspective adapted to the high sensitivity of the standards of the current intellectual circles".
"Melancolie" is a work with a ternary structure (ABA) with a very expressive and at the same time simple melody, with some arpeggios that wrap it and that contrast with the diversity of bars and with the character of the other section and that the maestro Riera interprets masterfully.
The "Fantasía Bética" represents the culmination of this creative period in the life of Manuel de Falla, and it is because it was the last piece of importance for piano that he wrote and also the most important work he composed for the instrument, and dedicated to the great Arthur Rubinstein .. Its ternary structure presents the three most authentic components of flamenco art: singing, dancing and percussion.
Riera interprets the "Bética Fantasy" in an excellent way: clearly, with a firm rhythm that is almost aggressive, lyricism in the expressive moments and the overwhelming ending with the sharp scales and with force making "Spanish nationalism" shine in all its splendor.
A great success on the part of the interpreter to choose such works since it is a very attractive repertoire but of a high interpretative difficulty that, as I have mentioned before, has been able to execute perfectly.
Josep Prohens Julià
Composer and President of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Sebastià in Palma de Mallorca.
Andreu Riera is one of the most significant Spanish pianists of his generation.
Born in Manacor, Mallorca. He began his musical studies at the Escolania Lluc, singing with the famous "Blauets" under the direction of his first musical guide, Father Jaume Palou. After returning to his hometown of Manacor, he began studying piano seriously with the pedagogue Concepció Vadell, winning the first prize of the competition at the Professional Conservatory of Palma. He then moved to Madrid where he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Professor M ª Ángeles Renteria, winning the first prize of piano and chamber music. He then goes to Vienna, where he studies with the eminent Professor Hans Graf at the Hochschule für Musik, and finally goes to London, where he completed his studies under the Professor Edith Vogel at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has also received important master classes by masters such as: Dmitry Bashkirov, Vlado Perlemuter, Monique Deschausses, Mtislav Rostropovich, José Luis Garcia, Ramon Coll, Manuel Carra, etc...
Riera has won major national piano competitions such as the Infanta Cristina (Madrid), Caja Postal in Madrid, Alonso Competition in the city of Valencia, and International, such as Frederic Mompou (Barcelona), Jacinto Guerrero and Mozart Competition, Salzburg Mozarteum.
Andreu Riera has performed all over Spain and in Italy, Austria, France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia, highlighting its versatility by playing in piano recitals, chamber music concerts, accompanying singers, soloist with orchestra, concerto, even recently in combined concerts of music and poetry, and music and theater.
He has performed at major festivals such as Palma (Bellver Serenates d'Estiu), Arta, L'Estartit, Santa Cristina d'Aro, Valencia, Tenerife Contemporary Festival, Granada, Opus Ultima Madrid, Alicante, Paradise Porch do Ourense , Mozarteum in Salzburg, Santander Grand Masters, European Venice, Bath (England), Colorado Springs (United States), and in major concert halls such as the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Madrid National Auditorium, Palais des Festivals Santander, Manuel de Falla Auditorium in Granada, Elesbash Hall City of New York University, Teatro Manzoni in Milan, Teatro Sistina in Rome, Venice Palazzo Labbia, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, St. James Piccadilly in London, the Lincoln Centre in New York, etc...
In addition, Riera has been a member of the chamber group "Manon" with Amparo Lacruz, Victor and Jose Luis Estelles Ambroa, with whom he has made numerous concert tours in Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, England and USA, and as the recording of two CDs: Quartet for the End Times of O. Messiaen, one of contemporary music and Catalan (J. Guinjoan, B. Casablancas, J. Soler). He has also recorded for RTVE, RAI in Italy and Radio France in Paris.
Currently working regularly with chamber ensembles such as the Image Kandinsky Trio or Ensemble with whom he performed at the Granada International Festival 2008, live concert broadcasted by the French TV channel "Mezzo". It is also a regular guest of the chamber choir "Studium Aureum" playing regularly in their musical seasons.
He has collaborated with other musicians such as Ara Malikian, Joan Enric Lluna, Isabel Rey, Francesc Josep Palou, Jose Luis Garcia, Kim Scholes, Gerard Claret, Amparo Lacruz, Jesse Levine, Vartan Manoogian, Lucero Tena, Lluís Sintes, Maria del Mar Bonet, etc. and chamber groups such as the Quartet Leonor.
As a soloist, Andreu Riera has performed with various orchestras Camerata Llevant Chamber Orchestra Ciutat de Manacor, Balearic Symphony "Ciutat de Palma", Seville Symphony, City of Granada, Andorra National Symphony, Malaga, JONDE, Orchestra Chamber "Andres Segovia", Kuopio Symphony, New American Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Springs Festival Orchestra, Montreal Chamber Players.
Has been, in recent years, the jury of the International Piano Competition "Vila de Capdepera".
He has also premiered works by contemporary composers such as Josep Soler, Josep Prohens, Antoni Parera Fons, Xavier Gelabert, Xavier Prohens, Stop Antoni Martorell, Benet Casablancas, José Luis Turina, Anton Garcia Abril, Joan Valent, etc...
In his teaching, has taught summer courses such as Guardamar del Segura, Alicante, and Quintanar de la Orden, Toledo. Among his latest CD albums: Elements, with music by Josep Prohens; Piano Promenade, Music and Mots, Antoni Parera Fons produced; Vora Mar, with music produced by Joan Bibiloni, Syrinx, Winter in Flames, and Kaiassa, the latter for the label Deutsche Grammophon , Winter in Flames and Sonatas by Brahms and Röntgen with cello player Amparo Lacruz, and his latest CD “12 Pinzellades” for solo piano.
He is currently a professor at the Conservatory of Music of the Balearic Islands, Chairman of the Artistic Commission of the Symphonic Orchestra of the Balearic Islands, and Artistic Director of Chamber Music Festival of Morlanda Cala, Mallorca. Recently he has performed in the Elesbash Hall at the University of the City of New York, premiering the work for piano solo "Mentum" the composer Antonio Parera Fons, with great success, and the integral cycle of. Polonaises by F. Chopin at the Palais des Festivals de Santander during Chopin 2010.
Among his major recent performances of 2011 include a concert in New York with the Perspectives Ensemble, and the Pro Bono Musicae Festival in Bielsko-Biala in Poland. In 2012, he has performed at the Festival do Paraiso de Orense Portico, and the Petit Palau de la Música in Barcelona, playing with the National Orchestra of Andorra with his violin-director Gerard Claret, Concerto No. 14 in WA Mozart., and in Verona, Italy, at the World Classic Music Festival.
Recently, he has performed with the Escolania de Lluc at the Nancy International Choir Festival 2012, France, at the International Music Festival in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, and at the Mendelssohn-Remise Saal in Berlin. In 2013 he has performed solo with orchestra with the John Hopkins University Orchestra, Baltimore USA, and at the Teatro Nacional de San José Costa Rica with the Costa Rica University Symphonic Orchestra. In San José also, he is been teaching master lessons for young pianists of the Costa Rica University.
Recently he is been nominated as a member of the Arts Academy in Palma de Mallorca.
In the years 2014 and 2015 he made his debut at the International Festival Chopin, Pollença International Festival in Valledemossa, and at the Music Chamber Festival Enrique Correa in Asturias.
Riera received the distinction “Ar d’Or” from the Cultural Association S'Agrícola in his town, Manacor. At present is teaching at the Conservatori Superior de les Illes Balears in Palma de Mallorca, and a member of the Real Acadèmia de Belles Arts de Sant Sebastià, also in Palma de Mallorca. Recently he received the recognition Premi Popular 2015, from the famous spanish radio station Cadena Cope.