Brotons (b. 1959, Barcelona)
In addition to his prolific compositional activities, Salvador Brotons
has distinguished himself as a flutist and conductor. The composer
received training in all three fields at his native Barcelona's Conservatory
of Music, where he studied with Xavier Montsalvatge, among others.
Brotons's output includes numerous chamber and symphonic works, as
well as several pieces for musical theater. Awards include the Spanish
National Orchestra Award, the Golden Youth Award, the City of Barcelona
Award, and the Queen Sofia Prize. For more information visit www.brotonsmercadal.com.
Trío, Op. 39
Relocated to the USA on a Fulbright Scholarship, Brotons composed
his Trío, Op. 39 for the Barcelona Trio during his doctoral
studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The single-movement
work avoids overtly nationalistic expression, although the numerous
additive rhythms (frequently 3/4 + 3/8) and syncopations may suggest
folkloric roots. More than any Spanish model, however, Shostakovich
seems to have been the major influence on the present undertaking.
Brotons announced his admiration for the Soviet composer in an early
piano solo, the Elegy for the Death of Shostakovich, composed in 1975.
The trio's powerfully evoked militarism bespeaks Brotons's assimilation
of his senior colleague's aesthetic, as does the work's rigorous counterpoint.
Structurally, the trio can be understood on many levels. The first
impression is of violent contrast between a number of discreet sections.
Tenderness, ferocity, lugubriousness, and humor are but a few of the
emotions Brotons requires his performers to project in rapid succession.
On closer examination, a mirror-scheme becomes evident, in which a
chain of diverse ideas leads to a central episode only to reemerge
in reverse order. Sonata-form, too, is easily discerned in the juxtaposition
of several strongly defined theme groups that recur in a telescoped
recapitulation after a tumultuous climax. Still more detailed study
reveals an underlying unity beneath the illusion of extreme diversity:
thematic transformation creates unconscious links between many of
the seemingly most remote sections. Thus, the painfully protracted
opening violin line furnishes the pitches for the cello's explosive
outburst in the Allegro feroce, and the piano's plodding ostinato
in the middle section provides the intervals for the coda's final
sprint. On a more localized scale, too, are numerous compositional
subtleties - fleeting canons, clever metric modulations, overlapping
phrases, and yet the integration of these techniques dispels any sense
of self-conscious display or academic tedium. Compositional craft
is clearly at the service of musical vision in Brotons's brilliant
Text by Adam Kent ©2000