Xavier Montsalvatge was born in Girona in 1912. He first achieved success, and was later to be internationally recognized, with his collection of Cinco canciones negras (1941), a work which, together with Cuarteto indiano (1952) and Concierto breve (1953) defines his post-nationalist period. This evolved through neoclassicism, especially in the Partita (1958), and during a period when he was influenced by the French post-impressionists. The latter is seen above all in Sonatine pour Yvette, and approaches an ever-increasing abstraction beginning with the Morphological Disintegration of Bach's Chaconne (1963).
He has been a member of the St. George Catalan Royal Academy of Fine Arts since 1962; nominated for the "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" by the French government in 1970; the Generalitat de Catalunya awarded him the Creu de Sant Jordi (St. George Cross) in October of 1983; and, on May the 28th, 1985, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is also a member, as a correspondent, of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts St. Ferdinand, the Fryderik Chopin Society of Warsaw, and the Hispanic Society of America in New York.
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Montsalvatge was also inspired by the death of Mompou in the middle movement of his Trío. The Dialogo con Mompou captures the bell-like "metallic" chords favored by the older composer, in an essentially tonal language heavily overlaid with modalisms and colorful dissonance. The outer movements were written a couple of years earlier and incorporated into the triptych in 1989. The Balada a Dulicinea alludes to Don Quixote's idealized peasant woman, while Ritornelo recalls Spain's former Caribbean colonies in its characteristic "Antilleanism."


updated: 8/11/2011