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1823 - Rodiles

1823 - Rodiles

Eudora Records  EUD-SACD-2306

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Music by Schubert & Allu

Noelia Rodiles (piano)


Noelia Rodiles has been described as “one of the true rising stars of Spanish and international piano playing”. For her new recording project, ‘1823’, she has paired Schubert’s Moments Musicaux D. 780 with the first recording of Martín Sánchez Allú’s first Piano Sonata. Allú, a Spanish 19th Century composer with an established carrier in Madrid’s music scene of his time, wrote this sonata in a deliberately Classical style. Schubert’s Six Moments Musicaux, composed the year before of his premature death, belong to the most beloved group of Schubert’s piano music. Noelia Rodiles’s performances are generous, enthusiastic and rich in contrasts in a recording made in the outstanding acoustics of the Auditorio de Zaragoza, Spain.

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - September 1, 2023

Towards the end of his life Schubert composed, around the year 1823, several short pieces, six of which were later published under the title Moments Musicaux. Together with the Impromptus, no doubt Schubert’s best-known and best-loved piano music. The Spanish pianist, Noelia Rodiles, has chosen to connect them with the year of birth (1823) of the composer of the second work in this release, Martín Sánchez Allú.

Listening to Noelia’s interpretation, I couldn’t believe my ears. Played so delicately and refined, I could not but admit that she, despite the many recordings already available, has set down an impressive account of these six musical moments in a most enviable manner. A rising Schubert phenomenon?

When Noelia previously crossed my path, The Butterfly Effect - Rodiles, she played Schubert’s Adagio G-Dur D 178 in a combined programme of ‘old and new’. Being focussed more on the ‘new’ than the 5-plus minutes of Schubert, played in between two contemporary Spanish composers, David del Puerto and Joan Magrane, I wasn’t immediately aware of how special her Schubert was. Going back to that recording, it confirmed my feeling that her Schubert interpretations stand out of the ordinary, notably in the sensitive way she conveyed at the time the lyrical poetry of a young Viennese composer.

As one might assume, the competition for the six Moments Musicaux is stiff. Brendel is a natural choice but unfortunately not available in a high-quality sound resolution. I therefore limit myself to comparing her interpretation with that of Martin Helmchen, the only other complete version on SACD. Both are different; whereas Rodiles is more emotionally perceptive and at times inward-looking; Helmchen brings out a judiciously chosen combination of wit and compassion. A tough choice. I’m glad I have both. As it stands now, I’d prefer Noelia Rodiles, though I’ll keep my final judgement till I’ve heard her performing one of Schubert’s major Sonatas.

The part that should evoke everyone’s particular interest is the following Piano Sonata Op. 1 by the Spanish composer, Martín Sánchez Allú. Little is known about him and I gladly refer those interested to the liner notes in the booklet. According to these notes, his modesty prevented him to obtain much public attention for any of his compositions. From what I’ve been able to discover, this attitude is reflected in only a few hard-to-find recordings. But, possibly with the exception of Fantasía dramática sobre motivos de "Beatrice di Tenda" de Bellini, sounding to my ears a bit pompous, all piano works that have so far been recorded (Dos melodías and La Primavera, Op. 24) point at a composer that does not seek to rock the boat. Most are short and of a traditional friendly nature.

In the same notes, it is said that Allú’s Piano Sonata is ‘in a deliberately Classical style’ as though it is meant as an excuse for the result. There is in my view no need to. It may not be innovative, but I find it all the same a solid piece of composing, built on Central European influences resembling -in the context perhaps not surprisingly so- a style close to Schubert. In this sonata, here in a First Recording, Rodiles shows that she is indeed one of Spain’s current top talents deserving wider recognition than just being a celebrity in the Iberian orbit. Her grasp of the score is such that she has no difficulty in putting some awkward elements in the score in a coherent and convincing framework, thus finally bringing a once more totally unknown piece of piano music to public attention.

It is not the first time that Eudora brought Spanish talent to global attention, notably: Josep Colom (piano), Fernando Arias (cello), Ricardo Gallén (guitar) and numerous other soloists Spain seems to have long kept for themselves. The driving force behind this ambition, Gonzalo Noqué, clearly puts all his musical and sound engineering knowledge into producing each release at the highest possible natural level. People forget all too easily that dealing with the acoustics of a venue is at least as difficult to control as the recording process itself. This release is another proof of his having mastered it to perfection.

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.

Copyright © 2023 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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