Manuel Blasco De Nebra - Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 / Pedro Piquero


Very little is known about the 18th century Spanish composer and organist Manuel Blasco de Nebra. During his lifetime, he was renowned for his dramatic performances on the organ, fortepiano and harpsichord, and as a composer, he was highly prolific. Blasco de Nebra is known to have completed some 170 compositions, but only a few dozen have survived, all of these being either sonatas or pastorellas for keyboard. This remaining body of works reveals the composer's skill as a keyboard player. Roughly half the music on this album from Columna Música is making its first appearance on record.

A rough contemporary and stylistically similar composer is Blasco de Nebra's Spanish countryman Antonio Soler. Like Soler, Blasco de Nebra's lifetime straddled the late Baroque and early Classical eras. The root his music has in the Baroque period is heard most clearly in the many similarities it has to the music of Domenico Scarlatti. Phrases echoed with only a change in mode, suspended close harmonies and the integral roles that repetitive rhythmic patterns and ornamentation play in his melodic lines are only a few examples. At the same time, its simplicity and elegance lend a sense of the galant to the music as it also foreshadows the Classical era sonatas of Haydn and especially Mozart.

Blasco de Nebra creates a broad range of quietly interesting atmospheres in his music and I've enjoyed it on each repeated hearing. The performances by Pedro Piquero sound both authoritative and fresh on a modern piano, which Mr. Piquero plays to the best possible advantage, with crisp, clean articulation and subtle dynamic shading. The album sample in the right sidebar is the Sonata 110 in D major. It's very enjoyable, as is the entire album, which I am very happy to add is designated volume one, so we can look forward to more of Blasco de Nebra's lighthearted music from Mr. Piquero in upcoming installments.

This performance of Blasco de Nebra's Sonata No. 1 is from a Harmonia Mundi album performed by Javier Perianes