Gabriela Montero


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It's a mark of Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero's substantial artistic clout that at her request EMI altered its traditional black, white, and red logo, eliminating the red so that its nationalistic and political symbolic significance would stand out in the final red "O" in Solatino on the cover of her 2010 album. This is her fifth album for EMI, but her first to feature Latin American repertoire and to include her own improvisations, for which she has become known as a modern anomaly -- a top-notch improvising virtuoso. In addition to her own pieces, the CD includes music by Ernesto Lecuona (Cuba), Alberto Ginastera, and Antonio Estévez (Argentina), Ernesto Nazareth (Brazil), Teresa Carreño, and Moisés Moleiro (Venezuela). Apart from some sections of Ginastera's Piano Sonata No. 1, most of the pieces are related to popular dance forms, and Montero plays them with kinetic dynamism. You'd have to be a virtuoso dancer to keep up with fluidity of Montero's tempos, but this is clearly music animated by the joy of bodies in motion. From the frenetic wildness of Lecuona's ...Y al negra bailaba! to the sultry languor of his Malagueña and A la Antigua, Montero brings out the music's visceral physicality. Her own improvisations are clearly rooted in the music of her Venezuelan culture, but they are fresh and inventive, not merely imitations of music of another era. An outstanding characteristic of the album is how much fun it is to listen to, and what a blast Montero seems to be having. Even the Ginastera sonata, the piece most frequently programmed on "serious" recitals, sounds explosively spontaneous. EMI's sound is big, but intimate and natural. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 1:58
2 2:06
3 2:14 Amazon
4 1:33 Amazon
5 2:44
6 3:08 Amazon
Suite española
7 1:43
8 3:57
9 3:28
10 4:02 Amazon
17 Piezas infantiles
11 1:32
12 1:22
13 1:12
14 0:57
15 2:57 Amazon
American Preludes
16 2:26
17 1:28
Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 22
18 4:08
19 2:28
20 5:03 Amazon
21 2:47 Amazon
22 3:46 Amazon
23 2:11 Amazon
24 1:47 Amazon
25 2:14
26 4:12 Amazon
27 2:53 Amazon
28 4:27
29 3:11 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick