Idilio M. Capllonch (1861 – 1935)
Barcarola M. Capllonch
Träumerei (Somieig) M. Capllonch
Tema i variacions M. Capllonch
Preludi en do major (Vol. I El clavecí ben temperat) J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Estudi en do major op. 10 n. 1 F. Chopin (1810 – 1849)
Preludi en sol major (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Estudi en sol bemoll major, op.10 n. 5 F. Chopin
Preludi en mi menor (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Estudi en mi bemoll menor op. 10 n. 6 F. Chopin
Preludi en re major (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Estudi en fa major op. 10 n. 8 F. Chopin
Preludi en si bemoll major (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Estudi en mi bemoll major op. 10 n. 11 F. Chopin
Preludi en mi bemoll menor (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Nocturn en do menor op. 48 n. 1 F. Chopin
Preludi en do menor (Vol. I) J. S. Bach
Estudi en do menor op. 25 n. 12 F. Chopin
Ignacio Botella Ausina
Writer and Musicologist
The first part of the concert features the renowned Catalan musician Josep Colom (Native of Barcelona, born 1947) and is dedicated to the piano work of the Majorcan composer M. Capllonch (Native of Pollença, 1861-1935), whose life spans the greatest period of creative explosion in the history of European music. A time when the aesthetic foundations that arose from the 1848 Revolution were expressed in the musical creations of the enormous number of first-class European composers born between 1850 and 1875. This period was founded with the idea of the autonomy of art expressed decades previously by Teóphile Gautier that valued above all “art for art’s sake” and impacted musical composition towards the defense of freedom and creative power. With an eye on the new century ahead, and despite the two decades of crisis and decadence after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the idea of the modern arose and persists down to our time, reflecting the latest trends.
Notwithstanding the above, as we will appreciate in the piano work of Miguel Capllonch interpreted by Josep Colom, the meaning of musical creation in the modernist era, whose abrupt ending was a consequence of the First World War, cannot be understood completely without realizing its relationship to romanticism in many of its favorite genres and themes.
Within Spain’s borders, the Napoleonic wars, the Carlist wars and the Confiscation of Mendizábal ruined the government and the Church. The traumatic events of the 19th century, from the Napoleonic wars to the disaster of ‘98, meant a radical change in the infrastructures that had made possible the production and consumption of music in Spain.
The life of Miquel Capllonch coincides with the end of the reign of Isabel II, the revolution called “The Glorious Revolution”, the very brief first republic, the Bourbon restoration with Alfonso XII and XIII, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the proclamation of the Second Republic. A long period of political instability but, as we were saying before, very prolific in the musical field, with many Spanish artists of the period including Ruperto Chapí, Tomás Bretón, Emilio Serrano, Felipe Pedrell, Marcial del Adalid or also Majorcan Miquel Marqués, who wrote five symphonies for the Concert Society as well as several concert polonaises.
Miquel Capllonch first studied music under his cousin Joan Rotger, organist of the parish church of Pollença, and in Palma with the composer and pianist Guillem Massot. After these first years of study, he entered the Conservatory of Madrid where he studied with the pianist José Tragó, whose classes were also attended by Joaquín Turina and Manuel de Falla; with Teobaldo Power, who in addition to being a pianist was the organist of the Capilla Real, and with the composer from Alicante, Ruperto Chapí. After this stage of training in Spain he moved to Berlin to expand his training with Barth, and settled in this city as a teacher, having among his first students Arthur Rubinstein, while succeeding as an performer in several European capitals. In 1912, he moved back to Madrid, and returned for good to Mallorca in 1920, where he lived until his death in Pollença in 1935.
In addition to performance, Miquel Capllonch composed religious music and, above all, piano music, where he demonstrated his outstanding romantic refinement with works like Idilio, Barcarola, Träumerei and Theme with Variations, which we will hear performed in this concert.
Josep Colom offers us in the second part an interesting comparison, alternating seven preludes of the first volume of the Well-Tempered Clavier, completed and compiled by J. S. Bach in 1722, with the Studies of the first series op. 10 nº1, 5, 6, 8 and 11, composed starting in 1829 in Warsaw by a young Frédéric Chopin, number 12 of the second series op. 25, published in 1837, and the Nocturne in C minor op. 48 nº1. This series was composed at a time with different and even opposing musical currents, with the most complex intellectual refinement of Bach and the exclusive demonstration of Chopin's subjective emotion.
If the purpose of the two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier was the empirical demonstration through a series of preludes and fugues of the possibilities offered by the “equal tempered” refinement, in terms of the use of all the major and minor keys and the modulation between them, Chopin in turn reveals his immense talent in his series of études op. 10 and op. 25, plus the Trois nouvelles études, raising the category of a genre whose sole objective to date was to develop and solve a certain technical problem through a musical motif. Inspired by Paganini's virtuosity and supported by Beethoven's latest works, Chopin, with his series of studies for piano, breaks with all previous pianistic technique with new solutions to his unique musical aesthetic, influencing the style of F. Liszt, R Schumann, C. Debussy and S. Rachmaninov, who composed studies in the style and binary form coined by him for the genre.
I was born in Barcelona in 1947. For as long as I can remember, music was something that was very important and routine at home. This wasn’t commonplace in Spain at that time. Without doubt, this environment and the fact that my parents, not being professional musicians themselves, supported me unconditionally, both emotionally and economically, allowed me to benefit from this profession all my life.
I won some competitions in my youth. The international competitions of Jaén in 1977 and Santander in 1978 helped me to start to be recognised in Spain, much later in the Ministerio de Cultura de España, I was awarded the Premio Nacional de Música which I hold in special esteem as I owe it to the appreciation of my professional colleagues. In the ‘80s my public activity increased bit by bit and currently I play regularly with practically all of the Spanish orchestras with very good principal conductors, in both recital and chamber music in the main festivals and auditoriums. I also maintain notable activity beyond the Spanish borders, particularly in France where I lived for some time in the ‘70s, studying in the École Normale de Musique, founded by Alfred Cortot and where I have recorded the majority of my discography for the Mandala label with music from artists as diverse as Brahms, Franck, Blasco de Nebra, Mompou, Falla… Recently the RTVE label has published a DVD with a performance of Prokofiev’s third concert and a CD with performances of works from Chopin, Debussy and Ravel, and live recordings from the Radio Clásica archives as part of the ‘Grandes pianistas españoles’ series. I definitely prefer the live recordings though they aren’t perfect, they are more real.
Many musicians have influenced and continue to influence my musical evolution. I want to highlight an early one, the composer (and back then also a pianist) Joan Guinjoán who helped me when I was 19 to develop a method of approaching music and playing the piano that was a lot more rational and structured.
Due to a reserved and introverted temperament, my world is that of recital and chamber music although I have never known how to refuse an opportunity to enjoy the marvels of the orchestral repertoire. I do not want to start listing orchestras, conductors, quartets and musicians in general with whom I have shared great moments because inevitably I will miss out many and every single one has or has had importance for me.
Bit by bit, teaching has become something that is very valuable to me and which, on occasion, thanks to contact with younger musicians, has renewed my enthusiasm for the re-discovery of the Gran Repertorio. As well as regularly giving master classes, I have taught in the Aula de Música de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares since its foundation in 1990. Also, for some years I have collaborated with the Conservatorio Superior de Zaragoza and with Musikeon (Valencia). In September 2012 I began a new teaching period in the Conservatori Superior del Liceu (Barcelona).
Making music is a great privilege and I give thanks to all the people that have made this happen on so many occasions to share what for me is a daily miracle.