The music and figure of Benet Casablancas have recently received great attention with the edition of several publications. After the CD The Art of Ensemble that The London Sinfonietta recorded for SONY (cond. Felix Krieger) and which will be launched on October 26th at the London Royal Academy of Music, two new compilation CDs and a documentary DVD (Composer Portrait) have been released by the record label Columna Música (as a culmination of the Composer’s Residence at Auditorio de Barcelona during the last two seasons). These constitute an excellent introduction to Casablancas’ musical oeuvre and include performances by a wide and prestigious range of soloists, ensembles and conductors, amongst which Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Jove Orquestra National de Catalunya, Seattle Chamber Players, Ensemble 10/10 (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra), Perspectives Ensemble New York, Soloists of the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, Cantus Ensemble Croatia, Barcelona 216, DissonArt Ensemble Thessaloniki, Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música, Kazushi Ono, Emmanuel Krivine, Á. Gil-Ordóñez, Josep Colom, Rubén Gimeno, Manuel Valdivieso, Kristiina Junttu, Nicholas Cox, Radovan Vlatkovic, Santiago Serrate, Colm Carey and Berislav Sipus.
Early in the year, as a closure to the celebration of the 60th Birthday of the composer, the book Arquitecturas de la emoción. La Música de Benet Casablancas (ed. J. Pérez Senz; Spanish/English) was released, which contains numerous contributions from musicologists, critics, writers, artistic directors and national and international composers (William Kinderman, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Musgrave, Friedrich Cerha, George Benjamin, Hermann Danuser, Cristóbal Halffter, Josep Pons, Cees Nooteboom, Yvan Nommick, Benjamin Davies, Toshio Hosokawa, Joan Guinjoan, Rafael Argullol, Antoni Pizà, John Fallas, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Fred Sherry, Sato Moughalian, Susana Zapke, George Steel, Francisco Coll, Irvine Arditti, Joan Matabosch, Nuria Schoenberg Nono, Luis de Pablo, Günter Pichler, Antoni Ros-Marbà, Germán Gan, Cañizares, Helen Thomas, Christopher Wintle, José María Sánchez-Verdú, Hèctor Parra, Mauricio Sotelo and Malcolm Miller, among others), in a carefully crafted edition by Galaxia Gutenberg with a rich graphic and documentary section.
All of these new releases, destined to become obligatory reference points for the music and trajectory of Casablancas, coincide with a busy period of international premieres and performances. In April the German Premiere of Sogni ed Epifanie, a piece inspired in the poetic universe of Rafael Argullol, was given by the Deutsche Radio Philarmonie (cond. Josep Pons). The concerts were held in Mannheim and Saarbrücken, culminating the composer’s Residency in Bremen (including concerts, masterclasses, the premiere of the ballet Unoda, by Helge Letonja -Festival für Zeitgenössische Tanzkunst aus Spanien- with music by the autor, and some new recordings sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes in Bremen. Sogni ed Epifanie was performed later in Madrid by the Orquesta Nacional de España (cond. Josep Caballé). Also in Madrid, and in the chamber music field, took place the World Premiere of Widmung (String quartet num 4) by Cuarteto Casals, a commission by Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical de Madrid for the quartet’s international Beethoven Zyklus tour, a piece that the prestigious quartet will soon premiere across Europe (Madrid, Barcelona, Florencia, Turín, Berna, Alcobaça, Tournai, among others) in venues such as the Wigmore Hall in London and the Kammermusiksaal der Berliner Philharmonie in Berlin.
Amonst Casablancas’ upcoming projects, the World Premiere of his first opera stands out. L'Enigma di Lea, commissioned by the Gran Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona, will be premiered in February 2019. More information will follow in due time.