Rueda has an extensive catalogue to his name, embracing all the
expected byways and highways, ranging from solo piano to large-scale
opera - and stops in between. This particular disc focuses on
some of the piano works, which range from 1991 to 2005.
clearly evokes Liszt linguistically and it does
so too musically. This is a daemonic opus that spends its five
minutes in a battery of unremitting demands, all of which Ananda
Sukarlan meets with sangfroid
. Exciting though it is it’s
also somewhat exhausting. The Piano Sonata No. 1, ‘Jeux
d’eau’ is entirely different; a complete contrast.
Written eight years earlier it offers instead Ravelian textures
and glinting impressionistically-derived hues and colouration.
True, there is the occasional gruff and bad-tempered chordal
outburst but these act to break up the limpid suggestibility
of the writing generally. The final section is more barbarically
engaged however, scampering and explicit.
Back in 2003 Rueda wrote Invenciones
, for children, a
selection of which is presented. I’m not sure how many
he has written in total - at least 29 because we get that one
here, though it’s teasingly called To be continued
In any case Sukarlan plays nine. They’re tiny, delightful
affairs, half a minute long, full of ‘insistent’ chords
or lyric surprise (such as the punning Inner Piece
Of sterner stuff is the Second Piano Sonata that follows. It’s
very different from the 1991 sonata in its muscular trajectory
and means, and in its absorption of non-European music - Balinese
in this case. The notes talk of jazz influence as well but I
can’t hear much - maybe some, half way through in its more
staccato-obsessed moments. Textures are busy, though not unremittingly
so, but watch out for a grandstand finish. He certainly has a
gift for the theatrical and driving.
The final work was written in 2003, a couple of years before
the Second Sonata; the 24 Interludes. They are 24 character studies,
brief in the main - not one breaches three minutes - that make
their mark with precision. They range from wistful and refractory
to ebullient and assertive. Some are clearly song based or song
derived, whilst others have geographical associations (Bali again,
amongst others). We can enjoy the slow harmonic drift on the Canción
or the funky Chopin-meets-Nancarrow heroics of No.10
- called, not inappropriately, Chopin.
is evoked by treble trills, there’s elsewhere delicate
tracery, as well as a pop song sensibility [No.20 a Berceuse
Prokofiev stalks the final one, a Toccata. Influences; Scriabin,
Nancarrow, and Prokofiev.
Rueda’s piano works cover something of a spectrum; driving,
pliant, terse, elliptical, embracing Bali and Scriabin, as well
as powerhouse pianism. Sukarlan, well recorded, is equal to all