In recent decades, Luis de Pablo (b. 1930) has faced the challenge of being recognised, more unwillingly than willingly, as a classical composer. It is not that his music has renounced anything, but it has generously embraced the concertante form and other tailored suits of tradition. The only thing he has resisted is the symphony, but that garb imposes too much respect on a contemporary; Carter, Berio or Bernaola tried it on. And De Pablo could have done it too. But he has done other things, like this Amicitia, a concerto for accordion which is one of the most inspired in his catalogue (perhaps along with the subtle and resonant Concerto for harp or the almost poetic one he wrote for cello).

He tackled it in 2014, at the urging of its protagonist, Iñaki Alberdi, and it is a work that documents the very latest De Pablo, quintessentially, resoundingly complex without any regrets of involution. The music seems to dance, the orchestra amplifies the accordion that sings tirelessly, and many things happen very quickly. It is not a simple work on first hearing, nor on second. But it grows and grows and grows and grows. Now we’ll notice the colourful string playing, then the soloist’s unusual sleight of hand, then some evanescent sonorities; everything seems sketchy, even though every detail is under control. Finally, let’s stop at the finale, what happened here all of a sudden? It’s an immense closure, without fuss, as if someone turned off the light.

The disc, which IBS adds to the list of the most relevant in his catalogue, is completed by other works for accordion, such as the light Tango, the virtuoso Capricho and the more serious Tre riflesi and the Tres piezas. Alberdi has many premieres under his belt, and this Amicitia is one of the most special, but to all of them he has devoted the same commitment and care.

Ismael G. Cabral

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