Abrazando: Latin Embrace

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Albeniz,Lecuona,Piazzolla,Ponce,Villa-Lobos,Williams and Gianneo
LABELS: Albany
ALBUM TITLE: Abrazando: Latin Embrace
WORKS: Works by Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos, Lecuona, Albéniz, Ponce, Williams and Gianneo
PERFORMER: Rosa Antonelli (piano)


Like Clélia Iruzun (see following review), Rosa Antonelli has premiered some of the works she champions, and her selection is drawn from Spain as well as from her native Argentina. But why has she chosen Albéniz’s Champagne waltz to represent his oeuvre? It’s a mediocre piece, not in the same league as his Iberia suite. Unfortunately, moreover, some of her Latin-American choices are mediocre too. The three dances by Luis Gianneo (1897-1968) represent laborious attempts at originality, while the limply Chopinesque Reverie by Alberto Williams (1862-1952) seems a poor reflection of that composer’s extraordinarily long career as an inspirational music-educator in Buenos Aires. Heitor Villa-Lobos’s wooden Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 has none of his characteristic sparkle.


On the plus side, the Mexican composer Manuel Ponce (1882-1948) is represented by two miniatures whose Romanticism is gracefully persuasive, and threaded through the disc is a fine collection of tangos by the great Astor Piazzolla – though oddly the most famous of these, Libertango, comes across as muddy here. But his Invierno porteno and Verano porteno are sinuous delights, and his La misma pena evokes the passionate spirit of tango-king Carlos Gardel, who had been his first mentor. No matter how calm their surface, these pieces are still powered by that driving muscular rhythm. Michael Church