Solatino

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Carreno,Esteves,Ginastera,Lecuona,Molieto,Nazareth
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Piano works by Carreño, Esteves, Ginastera, Lecuona, Molieto and Nazareth
PERFORMER: Gabriela Montero (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 641 1442

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The title – ‘I am Latin’ – indicates Gabriela Montero’s dedication of this CD to her father, but the absence of the customary red element in the EMI logo points to this forceful Venezuelan pianist’s determination that her record shall be seen as a piece of symbolic resistance to the repressive powers-that-be in contemporary Venezuela.

Montero has a phenomenal gift as an improviser – I was a doubter until I personally had the chance to test her ability to run with any idea tossed to her from the audience – but her improvisations here are modest, and simply serve to change the mood between the works she has chosen.

And what these amount to is a charming palimpsest from the Latin American classical tradition. And while Ginastera’s Sonata – delivered here with brio – is now a concert staple, everything else has the freshness of novelty.

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It’s easy to see why Ravel was so excited by Lecuona’s Suite española, with its decorous evocations; Estévez’s miniatures – a less technically-demanding equivalent to Schumann’s Kinderszenen – have vivid charm; Nazareth’s miniatures have a catchy conviviality, and Carreno’s little waltz conveys a wistful nostalgia which speaks for the collection as a whole. Michael Church