Baset

Symphonies. Madrid, 1753

Winter & Winter August 2020

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To show the richness and exuberance of the Spanish orchestral music of the 18th century in a full and courageous way. This is the honest aim of the program with the complete symphonies of the composer and violinist of the orchestra of the Coliseo del Buen Retiro of Madrid, Vicente Baset.
Recovered a few years ago by Forma Antiqva, they have been performed in concert from a chamber music version to its symphonic one, contrasting their quality and significance alongside works by more renowned composers such as José de Nebra or Joseph Haydn himself.
The award of the prestigious Beca Leonardo granted by the Fundación BBVA to this project for the recording and performance of his orchestral work has been the definitive push to place this music, and by extension that of its contemporaries, in the place of history that it deserves.

Last reviews

BASET: Sinfonías (Madrid, 1753) (Scherzo) November 2020
Se llamaba, como buen valenciano, Vicente (y Baset de apellido), y aunque nació (1719) para dedicarse, como su padre, a las labores del campo, los amores de su hermana, casada con un violinista de ascendencia italiana, lo arrojaron en alma y corazón en brazos de la música, a la que dedicó toda su vida. Formó parte, como violinista, de la mejor orquesta de la España de su tiempo, la que modeló Farinelli para las fastuosas representaciones operísticas del Coliseo del Buen Retiro. Pasó luego a los teatros privados en la compañía de María Hidalgo, con quien es posible que compartiera...

Les mystérieuses symphonies de Vicente Baset (L’ensemble Forma Antiqva dirigé par Aarón Zapico découvre onze symphonies de Vicente Baset) November 2020
On sait très peu de choses sur la vie de Baset. Il était l’un des seize violonistes de l’orchestre du Real Coliseo del Buen Retiro, du moins à partir de 1748, puisque son nom figure parmi les musiciens qui faisaient partie de la phalange selon la « réglementation salariale » en vigueur cette année-là, notée par Farinelli dans Fiestas reales en el reinado de Fernando VI (Les Festivités royales sous le règne de Ferdinand VI). Dans la liste des violonistes de l’orchestre, Baset figure parmi d’autres virtuoses célèbres de l’époque, tels que Gabriel Terri, Pablo Facco (fils...

Reviews

BASET: Sinfonías (Madrid, 1753) (Scherzo) November 2020
Les mystérieuses symphonies de Vicente Baset (L’ensemble Forma Antiqva dirigé par Aarón Zapico découvre onze symphonies de Vicente Baset) November 2020
La de Baset es música de la calle (Diario de Sevilla) November 2020
Entrevista a Aarón Zapico sobre Baset, el último CD de Forma Antiqva (Scherzo) November 2020
Baset: Symphonies. Madrid, 1753 (Melómano) November 2020
Forma Antiqva: la valentía en tiempos difíciles (Ritmo) November 2020
Forma Antiqva resucita a un genio olvidado: Vicente Baset (20 minutos) October 2020
Lo antiguo es contemporáneo (La Nueva España) October 2020
Baset con valentía y coraje (La Música en Siana) September 2020
Allegro mit Courage: Wiederentdeckung der Werke von Vicente Baset – der „spanische Vivaldi“ überrascht mit 11 flotten Symphonien (Online Merker) August 2020

Baset

Tracklist

01 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-7) Allegro assay. Amoroso. Tempo di prima
02 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-7) Andante moderato
03 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-7) Presto
04 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-2) Allegro assay
05 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-2) Adagio
06 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-2) Minué
07 Sinfonia a piu stromenti (Bas-3) Allegro assay
08 Sinfonia a piu stromenti (Bas-3) Adagio
09 Sinfonia a piu stromenti (Bas-3) Minuete
10 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-9) Allegro assay
11 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-9) Moderatto
12 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-9) Presto spicatto
13 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-6) Allegro assay. Amoroso
14 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-6) Allegro Pastorela Allegro
15 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-12) Allegro assay
16 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-12) Andante stacatto - Tempo di Minué
17 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-12) Tempo di Minué
18 Obertura a dos violines, viola y bajo (Bas-4) Allegro assay. Andantino. Tempo di prima
19 Obertura a dos violines, viola y bajo (Bas-4) Andante
20 Obertura a dos violines, viola y bajo (Bas-4) Minuet
21 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-5) Allegro assay
22 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-5) Adagio
23 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-5) Allegro
24 Obertura a piu strumenti (Bas-11) Con Spirito
25 Obertura a piu strumenti (Bas-11) Andante
26 Obertura a piu strumenti (Bas-11) Presto assay
27 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-8) Allegro assay
28 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-8) Adagio dolce
29 Apertura a piu stromenti (Bas-8) Allegro Pastoral
30 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-10) Allegro con valentía
31 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-10) Andante
32 Obertura a piu stromenti (Bas-10) Presto

Booklet

With Courage


One stumbles upon the indication «Allegro con valentía» [«Allegro with courage»] at the end of this bundle of symphonies, right at the head of the tenth; a rhythmic, joyful and singing piece. Like its companions, before and after, an exhalation of affection. It is the first and so far only time that a composer demands «courage» in such a clear and direct way. I am captivated by this sincere request and imagination does the rest. I take it as a personal message that travels through time and puts the composer and performer in intimate contact.

I think that this is indeed how we should approach his symphonies and, ultimately, 18th century Spanish music: with courage.

At the end of 2015 I read with special pleasure a considerable amount of Spanish Baroque music, specifically for string ensembles. I conduct the premiere with Forma Antiqva of a trilogy of Tonadillas by Blas de Laserna [1751 - 1816] at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid and I need some pieces that serve as an overture and interlude. This is how those 11 symphonies by Vicente Baset come into my hands, which Ars Hispana, tireless ambassadors of our musical heritage, rediscovered and published. As so often, the score does not provide comprehensive information at first glance. But In January 2016, a long road begins that will lead me to play and conduct this repertoire in various ways: from the minimum number of members to a symphonic team, from the specialized cycle to the season ticket. I put Baset alongside composers like Nebra, Blas de Laserna or Haydn himself and he stands up to any context. In the centre of the city of Valencia, just a few metres from the cathedral, stands the church of San Esteban. There, on April 19, 1719, Don Pedro Galcerán baptized Vicente Baset, the third son of a farmer from Alboraya named Tomás Baset and his wife Juana Aixa. Destined to follow in his father's footsteps in the field, music casually bursts into his everyday life. When he is barely ten years old, his sister marries Pedro Antoneli, a violinist by profession and, most likely, the first musical master of the young Vicente. The fascination that this violin in right hands exerts on the child is quite understandable. The recent discovery of the heritage of Vicente Baset testifies the close relationship between the brothers-in-law, as the Antoneli family receives one of his best violins [a magnificent José Contreras]. The perseverance in the study and some undeniable talents for music, together with the invaluable help of Antoneli, make possible that twenty years later we find Baset's name in the list of the sixteen violin players of the Orchestra of the Real Coliseo del Buen Retiro. Without a doubt, the best orchestra in Spain at that time and a hive of magnificent creativity and influence for a young violinist eager for new experiences in the capital of the kingdom. In its string section were some of the most active violinists of the time who treasured a vast experience in Spanish chapels and theatres. Despite the limitations of his time, the transfer of information, styles, fashions and techniques between the musicians is immeasurable. The time of Baset in Madrid is the time of growth and development of its municipal coliseums. Although in the first half of the 18th century the theatres occasionally hired the experience, when it comes to Spanish music from this period, has taught me that this austerity is apparent and that it is only necessary to scratch a little so that multiple colors appear. I play the music on the harpsichord, I hum it and imagine it in a thousand different ways. They taste like Nebra and Domenico Scarlatti but also like Telemann or Vivaldi. They more than fulfill my purpose of incidental music and arouse interest among those who hear and play them. For the first time Baset is being performed again, and I think we need to record this so that people can discover this fascinating composer.

In January 2016, a long road begins that will lead me to play and conduct this repertoire in various ways: from the minimum number of members to a symphonic team, from the specialized cycle to the season ticket. I put Baset alongside composers like Nebra, Blas de Laserna or Haydn himself and he stands up to any context.

In the centre of the city of Valencia, just a few metres from the cathedral, stands the church of San Esteban. There, on April 19, 1719, Don Pedro Galcerán baptized Vicente Baset, the third son of a farmer from Alboraya named Tomás Baset and his wife Juana Aixa. Destined to follow in his father's footsteps in the field, music casually bursts into his everyday life.

When he is barely ten years old, his sister marries Pedro Antoneli, a violinist by profession and, most likely, the first musical master of the young Vicente. The fascination that this violin in right hands exerts on the child is quite under­standable. The recent discovery of the heritage of Vicente Baset testifies the close relationship between the brothers-in-law, as the Antoneli family receives one of his best violins [a mag­nificent José Contreras]. The perseverance in the study and some undeniable talents for music, together with the invaluable help of Antoneli, make possible that twenty years later we find Baset's name in the list of the sixteen violin players of the Orchestra of the Real Coli­seo del Buen Retiro. Without a doubt, the best orchestra in Spain at that time and a hive of magnificent creativity and influence for a young violinist eager for new experiences in the capi­tal of the kingdom. In its string section were some of the most active violinists of the time who treasured a vast experience in Spanish chapels and theatres. Despite the limitations of his time, the transfer of information, styles, fashions and techniques between the musicians is immeasurable.

The time of Baset in Madrid is the time of growth and development of its municipal coli­seums. Although in the first half of the 18th century the theatres occasionally hired the musicians needed for the corresponding accompaniment, the greater demand associated with this evolution marks the consideration of the orchestra as a fixed element in the season of the theatre companies. It is, in fact, the time of the professionalisation and regularisation of these itinerant musicians under the orders of theatre directors such as Josef de Parra, Nicolás de la Calle or María Hidalgo, La Viuda [the widow]. The attraction of this new era, more stable and secure, could cause that, at the end of 1750, Baset joined the Compañía de María Hidalgo as first violin player and, very probably, he finished his career there. Once again, his inheritance casts a charming, albeit sparse, light on the life of Vicente Baset, as he leaves her a self-portrait and practically every interesting piece of jewellery found in his house. It seems that the relationship with the resolute María Hidalgo may have been more intimate than purely contractual.

The influence of the theatre, of the drama, is profound in the music of Vicente Baset. He absorbs, on the one hand, the good taste of the opera program designed by Farinelli for the Buen Retiro and, on the other, the experience in a company like María Hidalgo's, without the pomp of the Court, but in constant contact with the pulse of the street.

Thus, and in spite of an invariable formal structure in the alternation of fast and slow movements, Baset's music flows in a deeply rhetorical and theatrical discourse. In addition to his undeniable ability to condense a well-founded, rhythmically and melodically perfectly developed idea into a few bars, he has the talent to surprise again and again with unexpected turns. The writing of these symphonies demonstrates an exhaustive knowledge not only of the medium [which works with respect to technical and linguistic resources of the orchestra] but also of the different styles resulting from his vast experience. The scenario moves between the popular minuet [tracks 6, 9 or 20] and the more Italian and agitated bow movement [tracks 12, 23 or 26]. Between the hypnotic pastoral [14 or 29] and the more painful adagio [5 or 28] or the shamelessly Vivaldian overture [1, 7 or 21], passing through a marked Central European style [2, 18 or 22]. Music, in short, for all tastes.

The eleven symphonies first recorded on this album are part of a collection of works from 1753 and preserved in the musical library of Baron Carl Leuhusen, secretary to the Swedish Ambassador to Spain from 1752 to 1755. Hence his connection with Baset, whom he must have met at a Madrid sarao [dance and social evening] and commissioned this musical corpus to enrich his library. The musical tastes of Leuhusen, a man with broad cultural horizons, serve as a faithful portrait of what could be heard in Madrid at the beginning of 1750. Nine of the eleven works currently belong to the Stockholm Music Library and two to the Spanish National Library. However, the puzzle is not complete: one of the symphonies, possibly the first one as it is the only one dated on its frontispiece, is untraceable. For reasons that have not been disclosed, it was not possible for the Spanish National Library to acquire it at the time. I would like to think that it is only a matter of time before it appears among the lots of one of the music antique dealers, as the two symphonies that our library was able to acquire recently have done.

Like almost all the music of his period, Vicente Baset's symphonies require the active involvement of the performer. The score is in a sense naked despite the occasional and brief dynamic indications such as forte or piano, solo or tutti, or the corresponding tempo and affect indications at the beginning of each movement. It is necessary that the interpreter makes decisions, that he or she gets involved in the creation of this work. The composers of the time, including Baset, relied on the training of the musicians and called insistently for imagination and fantasy. The codes have changed but the nature of our emotions is the same. For this reason an interpreter is necessary: a contemporary translator of these emotions through historically enlightened interpretation. In the symphonies 2, 4 and 8, oboes and bassoons are added, since at that time these instruments were usually part of orchestras and ensembles and their use in the French style was the prevailing fashion. A percussion is added to the minuets [track 6, 17 and 20], highlighting their folkloric essence. The first violin surprises from time to time with free cadences on the marked fermatas, wouldn’t Baset himself want to flaunt his skills? I adopt the composer's intentions and new soli and tutti appear, giving homogeneity to the whole; articulations are expressed in the form of sighs, large phrases and short and painful-sounding notes; I colour the score here and there with dynamics, imagining a non-existent text; the accompaniment, rich and powerful, alternates to capture the full attention in every moment, even taking on the power of the melody in the Andante of Bas-11 [track 25]. There are rules and connections, theory and practice, but also a strong sense of theatre and a sincere honesty towards our mission, which we at Forma Antiqva want to fulfil for the renewal of our musical heritage. There is, in short, courage.
Aarón Zapico

Recordings


Concerto Zapico Vol. 2

Forma Antiqva plays Spanish Baroque Dance Music

The Volcano Symphony

Ernst Reijseger | FORMA ANTIQVA | Aarón Zapico

Crudo Amor

Dúos de Agostino Steffani para soprano y contratenor

Opera Zapico

Opera music from Monteverdi to Mozart arranged as instrumentals by Aarón Zapico, Daniel Zapico and Pablo Zapico

Le Quattro Stagioni · The Four Seasons

Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Inventione The Contest between Harmony and Invention

Concerto Zapico

Forma Antiqva plays Baroque Dance Music

Amore x Amore

Cantatas for alto and instrumental works by Georg Friedrich Händel

Sopra Scarlatti

Cantatas for soprano solo and continuo by Domenico Scarlatti

[out of stock]

Insólito estupor

Villancicos, saynetes, cantadas... y una batalla

Bizarro!!

Música italiana del seicento

DVD Rara Avis 1.0

Grabación DVD de concierto en directo

Awards

Premios MIN de la Música Independiente - Mejor Álbum de Música Clásica 2018 para «Concerto Zapico Vol. 2»

NPR Music's Best Classical Albums Of 2018 para «Concerto Zapico Vol. 2».

Premio GEMA al Mejor Grupo de Música Barroca (s. XVIII) y del Clasicismo 2016.

Premio GEMA a la Mejor Producción Discográfica 2016 por "Crudo Amor - Agostino Steffani" (Winter & Winter).

"Asturiano del Mes" del periódico La Nueva España, Excelente Audio Clásica, Excepcional Scherzo, Goldberg 4 estrellas, "Grupo del Año 2010" de la TV del Principado de Asturias, Melómano de Oro, Nomination ICMA 2011, 2012 & 2014, Prelude Classical Music, "Premios de la Música en Asturias" 2012, Premio Serondaya a la Innovación Cultural 2012, Recomendado CD Compact, Ritmo Excelente, Supersonic Pizzicato, Toccata CD of the month.

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