Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Many moods from a Cuban master

From June 18, 2010:


Ignacio Cervantes is best known today for his Danzas Cubanas, 40 pieces that were published in bits & pieces during his lifetime. He was an active patriot in the Cuban rebellions of the 1870s, and spent time abroad in exile as well as in the obligatory Parisian musical pilgrimages. When the Danzas were finally published as a set in 1959, this music became better known. They are now showing up more frequently in concert, on the web, and on CD, with the increase in interest in the piano music of The Americas. They work well as characteristic pieces in recitals, and a few are well-suited as brilliant encores.

Davide Cabassi's new disc of the complete Danzas is not the first, since the whole set fills up a CD nicely. The challenge in complete projects of this sort is to find, or to bring out, enough tonal and rhythmic variety to keep the programme sounding fresh. I think Cabassi has done an exceptional job in this area. He's not afraid to bring out lots of sentiment in a piece like the lovely "Un Requerdo" (#3), and he provides just enough dramatic light and shade to "El Velorio" (#6). There's virtuosity required in "Improvisad" (#15), but, more importantly, Cabassi emphasizes the comic element that Cervantes so cleverly builds in to the work. Throughout the programme you can hear nostalgic sadness lurking beneath the gaiety, and humour taking the edge off the most sentimental pieces.

Through all of these moods Cabassi is supported by a rich and natural piano sound, and it's all put together in a deluxe package by Concerto Classics. This is a very highly recommended disc.

No comments:

Post a Comment