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Opera “Christopher Columbus”
"It is a masterpiece...a landmark score in the lyric theater of our time."-The Washington Times; "(Balada)brought back from years of labor in America a gift to his native Catalonia...(his)melodies serve the verismo style of singing...this opera succeeds largely on the shoulders of its orchestra writing...(he) exersices his own kind of anthropomorphism."-The New York Times; "A great success"-Corriere della Sera;" A colorful, thoroughly professional score."- The Financial Times;"A writing always of high quality."- Il Giornale;
Opera "Death of Columbus”
“Energetic, sweeping and expressive, Balada’s score probes Columbus’s psychological world”. American Record Guide.
“…an uncommonly impressive and winning contemporary opera that visits the discoverer of the New World on his deathbed, where memory and imagination mix.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“…The score is quite gorgeous…combines a variety of 20th-century techniques into a style that is recognizably his own.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Operas “Hangman, Hangman!” y “The Town of Greed”
"(It is) an imaginative opera... (Balada’s) purpose was to write a work...inspired by a cowboy ballad, that in its comic nature expresses a sour criticism of society and the greediness of human beings...The music is alive, up-to-date...the match between words and music is total...It is interesting for its strong personality...It is a work of a musician-intelligent, challenging,diversified and imaginative, always with an interesting compositional process at work."-La Vanguardia-Barcelona ; "‘Hangman! ‘is very much American, despite its composer’s Spanish roots...the setting is the Old West, and the folk melody is woven through a sophisticated musical web."-Opera News. “…emphatically recommended”- Klassic Heute.
“… brilliantly told parables of predatory capitalism and its consequences”- Klassic Heute.
Cantata “María Sabina”
"One of the most startling scores of recent years is this’symphonic tragedy’."-Stereo Review; "Sheer impact swamped all qualifications at the West Coast premiere of Balada’s ‘Maria Sabina’...one of the most overpowering events of the season."-San Francisco Chronicle;"’Maria Sabina’ was a smashing success." -San Fracisco Examiner;"It is an ambitious, largely designed, often moving piece."-MusicalAmerica; "Through his natural symphonic ability...plus his control of the vocal writing, Balada has succeeded in a work that is very contemporary but at the same time accessible to audiences that are not familiar with today’s language."-El Pais-Madrid-Barcelona
"...Balada composed ’No-res’ two decades ago and had its world premiere now with great success. Despite the passing of time the score has not lost any of its original power... The public was won over by the vitality of this music..." -La Vanguardia-Barcelona; "Balada has something to say:death is nothingness and against its injustice he is going to shout a brutal protest. And this can only be expressed with desperate sounds..."-El Mundo-Barcelona.
“…Balada’s musical language for the work is characteristically eclectic… In the hands of a lesser composer, this diversity could be a total disaster, but dealing with diverse musical materials and ideas is perhaps Balada’s greatest musical strength…the piece is a magnificent musical achievement”- Music & Vision Homepage.
“…the howling of desperate wolves opens “No-res”…a harrowing look at death…its impetus and immediacy stem from the death of the composer’s mother…all harrowing and even touching” : Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
"...(Balada’s) cantata demonstrates how effective he is in a historical dramatic context. The striking thing about ‘Torquemada’ is Balada’s juxtaposition of textural and musical forces."-The Pittsburgh Press
Cantata “Dionisio: In Memoriam”
”…in Dionisio: in Memorian from 2001, we find a mature composer with assured hand, still broadcasting his anger and independence, but also with a noble air of valediction.” Mark Sebastian Jordan-MusicWeb International.
Cantata “Ebony Fantasies”
“…Balada adds his characteristic extended orchestral techniques and colors to ‘wrap’ the spirituals in his own personality. The resulting piece, though somewhat ‘odd’ compared to almost any other treatments of spirituals, is a very exciting work.”- Music & Vision Homepage.
Works for Orchestra
"...a forceful and somewhat melodramatic work of considerable direct power with highly effective orchestration"-Stereo Review; "Guernica’ impresses, even fascinates, but true to its message, repels. The repulsion was intended; the fascination is due to the imagination of a creative craftsman."-Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.; "Impressive in a bold modern spirit..."-San Francisco Examiner.
“…a masterpiece.”-Paul Shoemaker, Classical MusicWeb.
“…an impressive achievement”-Hubert Culto, Classical MusicWeb.
"...a work with very atractive sonorities."-ABC-Madrid;"... is like a beautiful abstract neo-impressionist painting."-Arriba-Madrid
“Homage a Casals”
"It was impressive because of its artfully motivic development and its sonic richness, the result of imaginative craftsmanship and new techniques. Musikleben -Leipzig; "Beautiful and interesting..."- Ha’aretz -Tel Aviv.
“Homage to Sarasate”
"Here too, the composer proved convincingly how the traditional and the new may be organically connected."-Musikleben-Leipzig ; "One could hear the inspiration in the nicely interwoven orchestration and rhythm..." - Ha’aretz- Tel Aviv; "...(a) complex and witty Sarasate tribute...(a) brilliant overture..."-Los Angels Times;
“Sinfonia en Negro”
"Is skillful and imaginative..."-New York Post;"...is a powerfully dramatic work, which reveals the orchestrational mastery of its composer...(a) work impressive and skillfully put together."New Orleans States-Item;"...there is life in the symphony and an abundance of original sounds."-ABC-Madrid
“Quasi un Pasodoble”
"...leaving the listener with the sense of having heard a talented composer manipulating potentially banal material with skill and sensitivity."-New York Times; “…the beautiful ‘Quasi un Pasodoble’ reminded me of Goya’s bullfighter put through a dreamy impressionist haze.” American Record Guide.
"...a substantial one movement work...The instrumentation is always ingenious..."-The Gardian-London;"...the sounds of the steel mills turned into richly varied, sometimes frightening, sometimes funny evocation of the assembly line”"...is frightening, sometimes funny evocation of the assembly line"-Ovation Record Review"Balada, a composer whose approach to the post-serial and aleatoric innovations of the 1960s is entirely his own.. This self-consciously theatrical score is full of Balada’s stylistic fingerprints."-Fanfare"It is an extremely well-wrought and colorful work"-Stereo-Review"It is a very successful effort "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "This was an original, bold work"-The Pittsburgh Press.
" unfailingly fascinating music..."-Star Telegram-Ft. Worth TX; "Balada’s piece imparts the flavor of dance and revelry as successfully as any 20th century piece one can think of. It should be recorded immediately."-Hartford Courant;"It is as sunny, colorful and irresistible as a Spanish fiesta...’Sardana’ should brighten orchestral programs the world over." Pittsburgh Press; “…so well crafted, so brilliantly orchestrated, that you’re apt to play it again and again. ” R. Cummings, Classical Net.
"A very beautiful score"-La Vanguardia-Barcelona.;"...is simply a marvelous piece."-Fanfare.
“Zapata: Images for Orchestra”
"Exceedingly resourceful display of composition..."-The Cincinnati Post; "...The new work is a delightful discovery, an example of inventive orchestration, tunefulness and directness."-The Cincinnati Enquirer; "A colorfully-scored scenes of balletic numbers that come across in the present rendition with an infectious immediacy."-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette;"A colorful work very well written.If the National Orchestra had any good sense would include it in their repertory and would take it on tour."-Diario 16-Madrid
“Columbus: Images for Orchestra”
"...the substance is Spanish and the gestures very original....the modernism in Balada is not like any other composer of his time...The success was great."-El Pais-Madrid; "It’s a large, colorful, evocative work."-The Hartford Courant
"(Balada) used his heightened sense of instrumental color to create a vigorous, coherent piece...this music was alive with color and explorations in sound."-The Philadelphia Inquirer;"The short piece was full of life, energy and the stamp of first-class craftsmanship was on it."-The Pittsburgh Press;"...full of original orchestral ideas...one could see in the work the personal touch characteristic in Balada’s music." -La Vanguardia-Barcelona;"Commissioning a new work (‘Fantasias Sonoras’) from Balada for the formal opening of the Benedum Center was one of the best moves made by the new house."-Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette; “…an absolute delight.” R. Cummings, Classical Net.
"A work in which Balada is faithful to himself, with very interesting contrasts between brilliant celebration and serene meditation."-El Pais-Barcelona
“Symphony No. 4”
"Brilliant and colorful...a musician who utilizes with consummate skill a good many procedures belonging to the most up-to-date language."-Journal de Geneva & Gazette de Lausanne; "The work won over the public and garnered a definite success."- 24Heures-Lausanne;"It is a work very well constructed, rich in its instrumental color and with a rhythmic drive that subjugates." El Pais-Madrid;"The work, unquestionably surprises, it is inviting, and produces a strange but healthy impact in the mood of the listener."-La Vanguardia-Barcelona
"A well-crafted play on light and dark...the crowd gave it a stamp of approval."-The Cincinnati Enquirer;"...wield the instrumental paintbrush splendidly."-The Cincinnati Post
“Line and Thunder”
“ …striking.” Paul Cook, Classics Today.
“Echoes has a chance of entering the standard repertory…colorful and well crafted…its familiar Irish melodies are imaginatively handled.” R. Cummings, Classical Net.
"...conjures up drifting clouds of intertwined lines, as if recollecting from hazy memory shapes that never quite resolve themselves in recall...the technique proved as effective as ever."- Irish Times, Dublin
“Symphony No. 5 - American”
”…an impressive score.” David’s Review Corner-Web. “Fifth Symphony follows a convincing emotional progression…He has written a fine symphony, and that’s all that need to be said.”- Classics Today
"It’s an especially colourful work, strong naturally on rhythmic zest and powered by some spiky and pleasurable wind textures.”- Classical CD Reviews.
“Symphony No. 6 - Symphony of Sorrows”
“ …the work proceeds at an imposing rhythm of a march…The two melodies oppose each other, they fight with violent contrasts and rich textures…The work left us astonished.” : El Pais, Spain; “…the music does not have a feeling of sadness but it is like a commemoration as it would be with a monument; it does not go inwards but creates an impact through volume and sonorities.”: La Vanguardia, Spain. “…The 20-minute, one movement symphony is imaginatively conceived, especially since marches play a large role. Balada achieves a fantastic variety of colors in his march music and arranges the sequence of those differing feelings with compelling freshness. The music moves from foreboding to grim energy to brutality.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Cumbres: Symphony for Wind Band”
"‘Cumbres’ is a really splendid musical achievement."-Stereo Review.
“Ponce de León”
"...his invention just as often is just as distinctive as it was in his powerfully effective ‘Guenica’...(Balada) has a way of abstracting a programmatic sound to unexpected but fully communicative essence ."-The Times-Picayune-New Orleans;"...a master of dry textures."-Musical America; "The musical resources were used with enormous ability by the composer, giving life to what could be considered like a ‘fresco’, with lively rhythms and colors."-Arriba-Madrid
“Concerto for Piano, Winds, and Percussion”
"The piano is almost exclusively treated like a percussion instrument...it sounds like fun to play."-The New York Times;"Balada was an admirer of Joan Miro’s painting, and one can imagine this piece as an entire canvas filled with colorful and bizarre images."-American Record Guide;"...frantic sense of playfulness....a work of considerable strengths."-Fanfare-The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors;"A striking concerto"-The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Concierto para Cuatro Guitarras y Orquesta”
"Here we have an excellent concerto...what splendid moments...it is a very beautiful work."-Luxembourger Wort; "The concerto is a truly convincing work."-Diario de Barcelona. ”… has more to offer than Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz which is “the” work for this instrumentation”-Fono Forum.“The amazing canonic colour of the opening movement and the hypnotic repetitions and shifting patterns are all most exciting. In the seconds Balada evokes Music Box sonorities (it is) delicate, static, compelling… in the finale we have agitation and drama perfect close to the Concerto” – Jonathan Woolf-Classical Music Web “…one of the most successful guitar-and-orchestra essays that I have ever heard.” David Hurwitz-Classics Today.com
“Concerto for Violin and Orchestra”
"(Balada) has juxtaposed a curiously teasing violin line against extraordinarily original orchestral textures."-The Miami Herald; "The concerto is a tender, interesting, and thoughtful work. Balada’s mind is full of fertile ideas, and his music, as always, was stimulating and worthwhile."-Musical America. "...In the concerto, he [Balada] accomplishes what thought impossible: intertwining a number of Catalan melodies clearly designed and enveloping them in unconventional and very original sonorities..." La Vanguardia - Barcelona; “…an effective concert piece for an enterprising violinist in search of fresh repertoire.” American Record Guide; “…very original and unconventional textures…” X. Montsalvatge, La Vanguardia- Barcelona; “…Balada is certainly a master orchestrator…with a strong lyrical side.” R. Cummings, Classical Net; “…(a) beautiful- and decidedly original-work. Paul Cook, Classics Today. ; “An effective concert piece for an enterprising violinist in search of fresh repertoire.” American Record Guide.
“Three Anecdotes, Concertino for Castanets and Orchestra”
"An intriguing composition. The work showed the range of virtuosity and subtlety she (the soloist) achieves on the Spanish folk instrument."-The Cincinnati Enquirer;" It was of particular interest the contrast between the three movements with interesting populism in the first and last and great beauty in the central one."-ABC-Madrid.
“Persistencias -Sinfonía Concertante for Guitar and Orchestra”
"...there is an appropriate and interesting instrumental work in the composition, thanks to which the guitar is team up successfully with diverse sections of the orchestra."-El Pais-Madrid;"In this composition, Balada shows once more that he is one of the composers of his generation with the most quality as well as the greatest quantity of work."-ABC-Madrid.
“Music for Oboe and Orchestra”
"The theme of the work...is the struggle of humanity and nature to co-exist...The music ,however, is nothing short of impressive...Balada has created a masterpiece for an instrument that rarely is given such a vital role."-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"...a musical watercolor for flute and orchestra."-The Washington Post.
“Concierto Mágico for Guitar and Orchestra”
"an understated blend of modern and traditional sounds, with the guitar given folk-like melodies, and the orchestra responding with a dissonant dialogue...interesting orchestral colors..." The Cincinnati Enquirer; " a colorful, demanding and exuberant work...Inspired freely by the music of the Andalusian gypsies, the three - movement work blends modernist colors and sonorities with traditional Spanish idioms." The Hartford Courant; The orchestrations are wonderfully imaginative. At times he transforms the orchestra into a giant guitar. At other times, the orchestra simulates the rhythmic clapping of gypsies at a flamenco bash.” Dan Davis, Amazon.com
“Concierto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3”
“Balada…convincingly blends folk music and avant-garde compositional techniques.” Dan Davis, Amazon.com; “…a fascinating listening experience.” Michael Jameso, Classics Today
“Caprichos No. 4 - Quasi Jazz”
“…impressive instrumental imagination…Caprichos No. 4 is moving, as well as clever, reaching its high point of eloquence in the third movement, Funeral.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Concerto for Three Cellos and Orchestra - A German Concerto”
“… Balada calls his composition ‘A German Concerto’ and introduces concentration camp recollections…it revolves around the song ‘Moorsoldaten’, originating in the concentration camp of Bergermoor in Emsland…with incomparable simplicity and intensity Balada’s exemplary orchestral work converts monstrousness into art. The three excellent cellists whispered and sang against the threats of the orchestra which often roared rabidly, ultimately rising to a hopeful high meadow.” Berliner Morgenpost