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CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

See below review for track list
Gabriela Montero (piano)
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London February 2010
EMI CLASSICS 6411442 [78:10]

Experience Classicsonline

The disc title is a play on words. Solatino, or 'So Latino' will give you an indication of its South American focus. Gabriela Montero is Venezuelan and she plays music by her compatriots Moisés Moleiro and Teresa Carreño, as well as more extensive pieces by Lecuona, who was Cuban, Estévez, who was, like Ginastera, Argentinean, and by Ernesto Nazareth, a Brazilian.

Interspersed between the sets of pieces by these composers, we find some of Montero's own improvisations, a feature of her performances that has been well documented on disc. There is really only one major work in the recital, Ginastera's 1952 Sonata, so the profusion of smaller, snappy dance based pieces can, after a while, coalesce into one sun-drenched fiesta of rhythm. This is not unattractive in itself, but I would advise a little localised listening first.

It helps that Montero has a necessarily resilient sense of rhythm. Lecuona's small character pieces are susceptible to imaginative phrasing and bright rhythms, such as they receive here. She's keen to stress the darting left hand lines of Porqué te vas? She has selected three pieces from his 1928 Suite española and these include the quick-witted Gitanerías and perhaps Lecuona's most well known work, Malagueña with its surfeit of fulsome drama. Estévez wrote 17 attractive children's pieces to form his brief Piezas infantiles. The last is a fast and driving Toccatina. It's always enjoyable to encounter Nazareth, whose charm and wit are synthesised adeptly. Montero's playing of Fon-fon is especially convincing. The dramatic Teresa Carreño is represented by the piece she wrote for her daughter, Kleiner Walzer (Mi Teresita), which her third husband, the fiery Scotsman Eugen d'Albert, recorded in 1923. She also plays two of Ginastera's American Preludes, making the most of the extreme contrast afforded by them; a languid pastoral and a chordally propulsive dance. Her playing of the Sonata is good, ensuring that the opening is bright and rhythmically lively and that the rather 'boogie presto' quality of the scherzo is to the fore. That said, I somewhat prefer Joel Fan's more pressing playing (review) on a Reference Recording - and he also included a piece by Nazareth.

Moreno's own improvisations are as attractive as ever, colour-conscious and warmly textured.

The recording in Henry Wood Hall is first class, and EMI has gone Latino with its colourful artwork.

Jonathan Woolf

Track list
Ernesto LECUONA (1896-1963)
La comparsa [1:58]
....Y la negra bailaba! [2:06]
A la Antigua [2:14]
Impromptu [1:33]
Porqué te vas? [2:44]
Suite española (1928); Gitanerías [1:43]; Malagueña [3:57]; Córdoba [3:28]
Gabriela MONTERO (b.1970)
Soñando Contigo (Improvisation) (2010) [3:08]
Texturas de la Gran Sabana (Improvisation) (2010) [4:02]
A la Argentina (Improvisation) (2010) [2:57]
Sin Aire (Improvisation) (2010) [3:46]
Mi Venezuela (Improvisation) (2010) [2:53]
Antonio ESTÉVEZ (1916-1988)
17 Piezas infantiles (1956); Angelito negro [1:32]; Ancestro 1 [1:22]; Ancestro 2 [1:12]; Toccatina [0:57]
Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983)
American Preludes (1944); Pastorale [2:26]; Danza criolla [1:29]
Sonata Op.22 (1952) [14:27]
Ernesto NAZARETH (1863-1934)
Odeon (Tango Brasileiro) (1926) [2:12]
Brejeiro (Tango Brasileiro) [1:47]
Fon-fon (Toot-Toot) (1930) [2:15]
Carioca (1913) [4:12]
Teresa CARREÑO (1853-1917)
Mi Teresita (Little Waltz) [4:27]
Moisés MOLEIRO (1904-1979)
Joropo [3:12]




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