OF THE MONTH
Dvorak Opera Premiere
Angels in the Street Eduardo MARTIN (b.
1956) De La Rumba Son [5:02] Son y Allegro: Preludio [2:35]; Son [2:53]; Allegro [2:30] Divertimentos Tropicales: Inevitable [2:26]; Chacumbele [2:10]; Lobison [2:40],
Angeles en La Calle [4:58] En Cinco Lineas: I Anunciación [2:38]; II Iluminado [2:46]; III Profecia del
Agua y El Viento [3:02]; IV La Ausencia [2:53]; V Ilusión y Verdad [2:08] Canciones del Calendario: Enero [1:43]; Febrero [1:21]; Marzo [1:42]; Abril [0:51];
Mayo [1:26]; Junio [1:42]; Julio [1:53] Agosto [1:42]; Septiembre [1:12]; Octubre
[1:19]; Noviembre [1:22]; Diciembre [1:34] Son del Barrio [3:59] Para Sońar Contigo [3:37]
Iliana Matos (guitar)
rec. no details given GPS 1030CD [64:31]
The review disc is interesting
from a number of aspects but two in particular. All the music
is from the pen of one composer: Cuban guitarist/composer
Eduardo Martin. There are few modern composers for guitar
who can maintain the attention of this reviewer through twenty-seven
tracks of music constituting eight different compositions.
Eduardo Martin may be prolific and renowned as
a guitarist, but it is quite evident from the liner-notes,
the majority of which he wrote, that featured guitarist Iliana Matos
is the artist the composer considers best equipped to play
these compositions. The observation that ‘it takes one to
know one’ is reflected in Martin’s comments: ‘She is a
true artist, gifted with a magnificent technique. She possesses
a clear and brilliant tone- while intimate and powerful -
always used expressively. As the composer I feel very fortunate
to listen to this album. I feel that in Iliana’s hands
my pieces reach a higher level. The authenticity of her interpretations,
energizes, renews and recreates them.’
Eduardo Martin was born in 1956. He studied guitar
with Jesus Ortega and composition with Ángel Vázquez Millares and Alfredo Dieznieto, graduating from the Instituto Superior
de Arte de Cuba in 1985
As a concert guitarist he has toured throughout
Latin-America and Europe and his discography exceeds fifteen
recordings. As a composer he has won numerous awards and
commissions including Radio France International Competition
and the American Composer’s Orchestra Festival. His works
have been published in Europe, Cuba and the USA.
Eduardo Martin’s compositions are strongly influenced
by the music of his native Cuba, but he also provides insights
into other important sources of influence. Preludio,
Son y Allegro (2, 3, 4) has two major influences: popular
music of Cuba and the works of J.S.
Bach. It is from Bach’s Preludio, Fugue and Allegro for Lute (BWV 998) that Martin derived much of his inspiration for
Written for Iliana Matos, the title track, Angels
on the Street, was inspired by street musicians of
different backgrounds, styles and cultures and in many
parts of the world. ‘These musicians give their heart and
soul in every performance without rigid formality nor compromises
for whoever is listening - true Angels who make their living
in this way daily.’
To ensure the liner-notes by Eduardo Martin can
be fully interpreted, a glossary of terms is included e.g. ‘Son’ (3)
refers to a popular Cuban dance.
There are so many interesting and intriguing
aspects of the music presented on this disc that a discrete
review, dedicated exclusively to the music per se,would
Iliana Matos graduated from the Instituto de Arte Superior de Cuba in 1991. Among her guitar
teachers we find such illustrious names as: Francisco Rosa,
Gabriel Estarellas, Miguel Bonachea, and Jesús Ortega. The list of those in whose master class she
has participated includes: Leo Brouwer,
David Russell, Sharon Isbin, Tania Chagnot,
and Costas Cotsiolis.
Ms. Matos made history by becoming the only woman
to win the prestigious ‘S.A.R La Infanta Dońa Cristina’ International
Guitar Competition. She is currently studying with Ricardo
Gallen at the Extremadura University
for the first Master of Music in Classical Guitar. Iliana also maintains an active concert career
It has been noted that musicians often excel
in interpretation of music from their mother country. The
endorsements and accolades from Eduardo Martin are justified
in every track of the review disc: compositions inspired
by Cuban popular music, from the pen of a Cuban composer
and played by a Cuban guitarist synergistically weave magic.
The music is not easy to define and one hears
elements of folk, jazz and classical; given the aforementioned
sources of inspiration this is not surprising.
Those familiar with jazz/hybrid guitarist Earl Klugh will
hear echoes of his style in Inevitable (5)
and Lobison (7).
Much of the music would be eminently suited to
the sound track of a quality movie, and the last item, Para
Sonar Contigo (26), reminds one of the Villa-Lobos composition, Sentimental
Melody, written for the film Green Mansions. On
my particular disc, track 23 (Octubre)
has been worn out - a brief audition will explain why.
It should be noted that Iliana Matos’ superb
interpretive skills are not limited to Cuban music. Her rendition
of the Chaconne from Bach’s Suite for Solo Violin (BWV 1004)
elicited the following observation: ‘ Her beautiful diction
of thecantabile in the Andante section made history’ -
El Mercantil Valenciano Castellón,
Iliana Matos exhibits high musicality, a
very refined technique, and a strong sense of rhythm. Listen
to the Cuban dance Son del Barrio (26) to hear how
she embraces these rhythms, combining them with percussive
sounds made by striking the body of the guitar. Her beautiful
tone is complemented by an instrument from the hands of luthier Paco Santiago Marin. For
aficionados who may be interested, on this recording Iliana chose
to use Hannabach Silver-special
High Tension, Set 815 HT nylon strings.
It is with reluctance that I describe the work
of a current generation guitarist as magnificent because
it leaves little latitude for the future but on this occasion
there is no other synonym that is more appropriate.
Regarding the future, one must recognise that
fate and circumstance are not always kind to great artists.
For all their magnificence, the names of past guitarists
such as Angel Iglesias, Rey de
la Torre and Jose Luis Gonzalez
remain in relative obscurity.
If circumstances are kind to Iliana Matos, she has sufficient of all credentials necessary
to take her place in the annals of guitar as one of its truly
gifted and outstanding exponents.
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