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Leonardo Balada (b.1933): Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion; Cello Concerto; Viola Concerto; Sonata for Ten Winds / Enrique Graf, piano; David Premo, cello; Ashan Pillai, viola

Album Summary

>Balada, Leonardo : Symphony no 2 for band ("Cumbres - A Short Symphony for Band")
>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for piano, winds & percussion
>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for cello & 9 players
>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for viola & wind ensemble
>Balada, Leonardo : Sonata for 10 winds
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Long admired as a pioneer of the blending of ethnic music with avant-garde techniques, Leonardo Balada first encountered experimental electronic music in New York in the early 1960s. It was to have a significant bearing on his compositional development. In Cumbres (Heights), a ‘Short Symphony for Band’, he employs an ‘electronic’ effect with dramatic results. He pursues the idea of cluster-like textures in the Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion while also paying homage to Chopin, Poulenc and Stravinsky. Conflict and lyricism mark out the Viola Concerto, while the Sonata for Ten Winds was described by The New York Times as ‘an exciting instrumental showcase with motoric passages that are quite stunning’.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
The notes and websites say that Leonardo Balada (b 1933 in Spain) is still a professor of composition - at age 82 - at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has taught since 1970. His music is intense and demands much from the players. This recording was made in the 2010-11 academic year and involves four conductors. Denis Colwell, CM Wind Ensemble conductor from 1993-2011, leads the opening and closing works. The very intricate Cumbres ('Short Symphony for Band', 1971) is quite organized for a while. This reading is very good. The Sonata for Ten Winds (1979) is pointillist and relentless. Stephen Story, associate director of the CM wind ensemble, teams with the fine Uruguayan pianist Enrique Graf in the Concerto for piano, winds, and percussion (1973), a work that is sometimes tonal and relatively consonant. Pittsburgh Symphony co-principal clarinet Thomas Thompson is the conductor, David Premru the soloist, in the Concerto for cello and nine players (1962, rev 1967). Neoclassical in style and quite reminiscent of Stravinsky, the work pits the soloist against winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon), brass (trumpet, horn, trombone), and percussion. The students play well. And then there is the Viola Concerto (2009-10), where PSO principal trumpet George Vosburgh conducts and English violist Ashan Pillai is soloist. Opening with several minutes of extremely high harmonics, the solo instrument sounds more like violin than viola. Eventually the soloist is allowed to make characteristic low, rich tones. The playing was generally strong.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland, Pittsburgh.



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Works Details

>Balada, Leonardo : Symphony no 2 for band ("Cumbres - A Short Symphony for Band")
  • Ensemble: Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
  • Running Time: 14 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1971

>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for piano, winds & percussion
  • Performer: Enrique Graf (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
  • Running Time: 17 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto

>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for cello & 9 players
  • Performer: David Premo (Cello)
  • Ensemble: Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
  • Running Time: 15 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1962

>Balada, Leonardo : Concerto for viola & wind ensemble
  • Performer: Ashan Pillai (Viola)
  • Ensemble: Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
  • Running Time: 16 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2009-2010

>Balada, Leonardo : Sonata for 10 winds
  • Ensemble: Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
  • Running Time: 16 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary