BLASCO DE NEGRA Piano Sonatas
(Harmonia Mundi) Hardly a household name, Manuel Blasco de Nebra (1750-1784) was a Seville-born priest, organist, and composer who, in his brief career, produced more than 170 compositions. Only 30 survive, each of them either two-movement sonatas or three-movement pastorelas for solo keyboard. These intriguing works are obviously descended from the famous sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, who died in Madrid seven years after Blasco was born. Blasco, however, was aware of where music’s path had led since Scarlatti’s heyday, and his music suggests that he was particularly smitten by the hyperexpressive style of C.P.E. Bach. On this disc, Javier Perianes, a young Spanish pianist on the rise, infuses eight of Blasco’s works with a spirit of reverie that would have done Chopin proud. Historically informed performances these are not; for that, you might seek out fortepiano readings by Tony Millán on the Almaviva label. Perianes crafts each movement into a jewel. He draws tones of ineffable sweetness from his modern concert grand, reining in its potential power to avoid “overplaying” these delicate pieces. The more one listens, the more surprising these works seem in their melding of quirkiness with sentimentality, of brilliance with languor. This is a CD that is best enjoyed at night, when the listener’s imagination is likely to be most ready to absorb the intimate outpouring Perianes offers.