Recent scholarship on Luis Misón (Mataró, 1727–Madrid, 1766) demonstrates the growing interest among the musicological community in studying the life and work of one who is an essential composer in the history of Spanish music. Musical historiography has extolled Misón's contribution to the genre of the tonadilla escénica, a genre widely appreciated in his time and which must have had a notable influence on his instrumental music, about which less is known.
His talent as a flautist was appreciated within the noble circle of the House of Alba, where musical academies were held in which Misón actively participated and for which he composed 12 sonatas for transverse flute and bass dedicated to the Duke of Alba. These pieces were located in the archives of the House of Alba and described in 1927 by José Subirá (1882–1980), but unfortunately they disappeared during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).
The discovery of the five hitherto unknown Sonatas for Flute and Bass by Misón represents a substantial contribution to the Spanish chamber music repertoire of the second third of the 18th century for this instrument, given the scarcity of pieces written by Hispanic composers contemporary to Misón in which the flute is definitely the real protagonist. Moreover, they are sonatas which, from a technical point of view, pose interesting challenges to the flautist, something that highlights Misón's mastery of the flute, in accordance with surviving documentation of the period. Ortega explains that José Teixidor (c.1751–c.1811), vice-master of the Royal Chapel from 1778, considered his works to be no lesser than those of the best-known foreign composers and said of him that he was an unequalled performer on the transverse flute. The sonatas are found in five musical manuscripts preserved in the Lebrija Palace in Seville, a stately home dating from the 16th century, which in 1901 became the property of Regla Manjón y Mergelina (1851–1938), Countess of Lebrija. With regard to the sources, it seems unlikely that any of the five are autograph. (Although up to five different copyists have been identified, there is nothing to suggest that any of them could be Misón, himself.) Generally speaking, the sonatas are characterised by the importance of melody, regular phrases and steady rhythms, as can be seen in the elaborate seisillos of the Allegro moderato of the Sonata [No.3] in G major. Overall, the basso continuo line is simple – excepting the B section of the Allegro of the Sonata [No.4] in G major (undated) – allowing the role of the flute to stand out prominently.
This recording is the culmination of a long process of recovery of Spanish 18th-century musical heritage that deserves to be disseminated, studied and enhanced. After more than two centuries of silence, Misón's music is heard again.
- Recorded July 2022 in Seville, Spain
- Booklet in English contains liner notes by Juan Miguel Illán Calado, and profiles of the artists
- Luis Misón was a Spanish flutist, oboist, conductor, and composer. He was a flutist in the Royal Chapel and the Royal Opera of Madrid (from 1748), becoming conductor there in 1756. He composed stage music, and was one of the first to introduce the “tonadilla escénica,” a sort of miniature comic opera that developed from the musical interludes in early Spanish plays. He also wrote “sainetes” (dramatic dialogues), zarzuelas, and chamber music.
- The recent discovery of five hitherto unknown Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo by Misón represents a substantial contribution to the Spanish chamber music repertoire of the second third of the 18th century for this instrument, given the scarcity of pieces for flute written by Hispanic composers contemporary to Misón. These sonatas pose interesting technical challenges to the flautist, a proof of Misón's mastery of the flute. The works are highly melodious, charming and brilliantly written for the instrument.
- Played on period instruments by flutist Rafael Ruibérriz de Torres, who studied with Wilbert Hazelzet and who played with Gustav Leonhardt, Philippe Herreweghe and Jos van Immerseel. The continuo is played by Isabel Gómez-Serranillos cello and Santiago Sampedro harpsichord (on a double manual harpsichord after Flemish examples by Joop Klinkhamer).