Revolution & Discovery
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Exciting, colorful works in the tradition of de Falla and Ginastera.

Leonardo Balada, the Catalan composer who came to New York in 1956 to study composition, has been a powerful creative force for more than three decades. His highly personal avant-garde techniques in the sixties - dramatically as well as rhythmically imposing - sets his works like Guernica and Maria Sabina apart from composers of the time. Later, in the seventies, he was credited as a pioneer in blending the avant-garde with folkloric ideas mixing the new with the old- now a very fashionable trend- in works like Sinfonia en Negro-Homage to Martin Luther King (1968) and Homage to Casals and Sarasate (1975). His exposure to the plastic arts in New York was perhaps of greater significance to his style than the music he heard around him. In Balada's music one finds by his own admission a perplexing amalgamation of traditional Spanish culture influenced by modern concepts of geometric art, "collages" as seen in the paintings of Rauschenberg and the surrealism of Salvador Dali. Balada had collaborated several times in New York during the early sixties. In an interview over a generation ago Balada explained his position towards this dichotomy saying: "If I go to Andalusia and choose to wear a "Cordobes" hat, or a cowboy hat in Texas or no hat at all on Wall Street, I still will be recognized as me, provided that my personality emerges in spite of my disguise." And his works are very personal indeed, through textural writing, blunt contrasts of ideas and dynamics, juxtaposition of opposing harmonies, mechanistic passages in layers of "staccato" writing, a rhythmic constancy and above all, a compelling sense of direction and goal in the form and drama of his music.
Leonardo Balada, composer
Zapata: Images for Orchestra
Orquesta de Valencia, Manuel Galduf, conductor, Orquesta Sinfonica de la Radio TV Española, Sergiu Commissiona, conductor

Leonardo Balada, composer
Columbus: Images for Orchestra
Orquesta Sinfonica de la Radio TV Española, Sergiu Commissiona, conductor

Leonardo Balada, composer
Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Alberto Almarza, flute, Anthony Bianco, contrabass

Leonardo Balada, composer
Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble, Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, conductor

"Leonardo Balada is a Catalan composer, born in 1933, who has spent most of his mature artistic life in the US; since 1970 he has taught at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. This disc is a fine introduction to his art, which evidences real musicality and a vivid imagination....The concert recordings are sonically fine and interpretively sure. This disc is a welcome addition to Balada's discography, which is not huge. All works appear to be premiere recordings, and so this is both a good introduction to the composer as well as an important disc for those following his career. I appreciate Balada's imaginative flair, passionate utterance, and desire to stretch expressive boundaries - all qualities well served by this release." (Fanfare)
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