Luisa Elena PAESANO (b.1946) Pajarillo (Joropo) [3:02]
Evencio CASTELLANOS (1915 – 1984) Mañanita caraqueña (Waltz) [2:26]
Federico VOLLMER (1834 – 1901) Jarro mocho (Joropo) [2:47]
Ramón DELGADO–PALACIOS (1863 – 1902) La Dulzura de tu rostro (Waltz) [2:33]
Luisa Elena PAESANO El porfiao (Joropo) [1:29]
Federico VOLLMER El atravesado (Waltz) [3:02]
Federico RUIZ (b.1948) Aliseo (Joropo) [1:55]
Maria Luisa ESCOBAR (1903 – 1985) Noche de luna en Altamira, (Nocturne-Waltz) [3:04]
Federico RUIZ Zumba que zumba (Joropo) [3:40]
Miguel ASTOR (b.1958) Adriana (Waltz) [3:04]
Pablo CAMACARO (b.1947) Diversión (Ritmo Orquídea) [2:31]
Antonio LAURO (1917 – 1986) Canción [3:34]; Vals criollo [2:57]
Juan Carlos NÚÑEZ (b.1947) Retrato de Ramón Delgado Palacios, (Waltz) [4:03]
Modesta BOR (1926 – 1988) Fuga [2:21]; Juangriego (Waltz) [2:44]
Antonio LAURO Seis por derecho (Joropo) [2:58]
Ricardo TERUEL (b.1956) Destilado de vals [2:58]
Francisco Delfín PACHECO (??) El cumaco de San Juan (Merengue) [2:55]
Luis LAGUNA (1926 – 1984) Creo que te quiero (Waltz) [5:38]
Pedro Elias GUTIÉRREZ (1870 – 1954) Alma llanera (Joropo) [2:47]
Pablo CAMACARO Don Luis (Merengue) [2:26]
Simon DIAZ (b.1928) Caballo viejo (Pasaje Llanero) [3:22]
Manuel YÁNEZ (1941 – 2000) Viajera del río (Waltz) [3:48]
Heraclio FERNÁNDEZ (1851 – 1886) El Diablo suelto (Waltz-Joropo) [1:57]
Clara Rodriguez (piano)
rec 1-2 February 2010, Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth. DDD
Imagine buying a box of chocolates which contains all your favourite centres, every one soft and sweet, gooey and delicious. Yes, just imagine it. A lovely thought, isn’t it? Now you have that idea in your mind, imagine a collection of delectable musical sweetmeats, all of which sit comfortably on the ear, are colourful and have an easy-going gait. That is exactly what this collection of pieces by Venezuelan composers is: 25 soft centres with a rich coating of schmaltz. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I’m sure you’re licking your lips at the mere thought of this. Here, there are many pieces with the subtitle joropo, which is a national dance, and there are many waltzes.
Ms Rodriguez is a player with spirit, she understands and obviously loves this music. Her performances are full of charm and wit, her light touch is admirably suited to the music. What she cannot do is avoid the very sameness which makes them attractive. In her note in the booklet, Ms Rodriguez states that “… I met Federico Ruiz who has written for me some of the most beautiful pieces in the world, including a Piano Concerto …” This is a big claim for, on the strength of what is contained on this disk his pieces – Aliseo (Joropo) and Zumba que zumba (Joropo) – are exactly the same as all the others.
What all these pieces lack is a real personality; none of them have that unique voice. It is the original voice which makes one composer stand head and shoulders above the rest - Astor Piazzolla had it and no matter what he wrote, a tango for his own group or a Concerto for Bandoneon, from the very first bar is uniquely Piazzolla. It couldn’t be anybody else.
Having said that, this isn’t music which sets out to inspire; it doesn’t think great thoughts, it doesn’t get in the way. It’s simply delightful and very, very pleasing. Entertainment music of the very best kind and it is very good and enjoyable but to be sampled rather than listened to in one sitting. The recorded sound is excellent, very bright, which this music needs, and the piano is set in a pleasing space where the sound can breathe. At the end of a long and arduous day this is exactly what one wants to help one relax and take stock. Certainly this is well worth having but I do hope that in the near future Ms Rodriguez will put her, not inconsiderable, talent to good use in some bigger works where she can really show her abilities and musicality.

Bob Briggs
Well worth having … see Full Review