Those of us who have been following Miquel Villalba's amazing series of the complete piano music of the Catalan composer Manuel Blancafort won't be surprised by the continuing excellence in the music and playing on this disc. The CD includes Blancafort's final works for piano, most of them written after the Spanish Civil War. Sadly, it's the last in this important series from Naxos. Sadly as well, it documents a general decline in Blancafort's situation, compared with happier pre-war times. Reading the revealing liner notes by Villalba, one feels the composer becoming increasingly tired of life as the century moves on. But even though he didn't write very much music for piano in these years, there seems to be no corresponding decline in his inspiration.
Blancafort's music seems to grow out of the Catalonian soil, as the composer is immersed in the musical traditions of his country going back to medieval times, with the additional inspiration of the nature in the countryside. But there is also the key influence of the French piano composers, most notably Ravel and Debussy. The Hommage a Faure makes this clear, though even in the traditional Catalan dance Sardana simfonica you can hear impressionistic techniques.
There's a melancholic and nostalgic tone to many of these pieces, which is evident in the Elegia he wrote in 1983 for his friend Frederic Mompou, another of the great Catalan composers. Even some of the "Simple pieces for little hands" Blancafort was writing for his grandchildren when he died are very sad. This is moving, heart-breaking, music.