Oscar Espla Music for Piano

Óscar Esplá was born in Alicante, Spain in 1886 or 1889. This places Esplá in the same generation as his countrymen Joaquin Turina (b.1883) and Federico Mompou (b.1893).

His output includes a dozen stage works, some unfinished, and several large scale symphonic pieces incorporating chorus. His purely instrumental works include an unpublished Symphony in D (1912), orchestral arrangements his own piano pieces, two suites for chamber orchestra based on folksongs, and the Symphony ‘Aitana’ (1958). There are two published String Quartets, a Piano Trio, Piano Quintet and several duo works with piano.

The piano was an important feature of Esplá’s early successes: he was an outstanding pianist, and performer of his own early neo-classical pieces Romanza antigua, Impressiones musicales Op.2, and the Scherzo Op.5. The piano would remain a vehicle for his profoundest emotions throughout his life. Much of his keyboard music consists of ‘impressions’ particularly of a child’s world, or ‘evocations’ of the landscapes of Alicante.

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'Martin Jones who has recorded piano music from as wide a range of composers as Szymanowski and Stravinsky to Granados and Gál is the perfect advocate for these wonderfully simple but beautifully crafted delicate little pieces. He plays all of them with great sensitivity and a real feeling for the colour. It is to be hoped that these two discs will help in bringing this composer to a new audience.' Steve Arloff, musicweb-international.com

'These attractive, rarely recorded, works are well worth exploring particularly some of the later pieces which are really quite beautiful. Martin Jones is an ideal interpreter, never allowing the slightest little piece to fail to register. The recording is excellent and there are interesting booklet notes on the composer.' theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.com

'Jones recorded in a resonant space, makes an excellent case for these works. His rhythms are crisp, though, and his colour palette is broad. So it is hard to see how Epla could be improved upon.' Raymond S. Tuttle, International Record Review Magazine, May 2013

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