Gabriela Montero

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Montero: Ex Patria; Improvisations

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Three aspects of pianist Gabriela Montero's musicianship are featured on this 2015 Orchid Classics release in her roles as a virtuoso performer, budding composer, and gifted improviser. In playing the Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor of Sergey Rachmaninov, Montero manages its technical difficulties and passionate expressions with ease, yet her reason for choosing this work goes beyond mere showmanship. Montero has deep sympathy for Rachmaninov as a musician in exile, because she has been an expatriate from her native Venezuela, and in this regard the concerto has a personal meaning for her, evoking homesickness and loss. To the same point, she composed Ex Patria as a plangent lament for the loss of lives in Venezuela and the loss of the country she knew in her youth. This tone poem for piano and orchestra is Montero's opus 1, and she and the YOA Orchestra of the Americas give it a powerful premiere recording that communicates rage and sorrow. To round out her program, Montero has included three improvisations, which have become her specialty in live performances, where she takes melodies suggested by the audience and weaves them into free-form fantasies of artistry and wit. The recorded sound is clear, though not especially resonant or deep.

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