Javier Rameix’s “Impressôes”

cover IBS-142020

IMPRESSÔES / GINASTERA: Piano Sonata No. 1. Danzas argentinas No. 2. VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4. Cicio brasileiro. MOLEIRO: Joropo. CASTELLANOS: Mañanita caraqueña. FERNÁNDEZ: El Diablo suelto / Javier Rameix, pno / IBS Classical 142020

Young (b. 1991) Venezuelan pianist Javier Rameix presents here a program of Latin music, mostly of the last century. He begins with Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1, written in 1937 when the composer was only 21 years old. It reflects the aesthetics of his teacher, Aaron Copland, from a time when Copland was still writing interesting modern music and before he became the Folk music orchestrator” of the U.S.A. Despite Copland’s harmonic influence, it is full of Latin rhythms, which oddly enough were later subjugated in much of Ginastera’s music. Rameix really digs into it, playing it with tremendous energy and joie-de-vivre. It’s a good piece anyway, but he makes it sound like an exceptional one. The second movement, with its crazy-sounding fast chromatic passages, is particularly interesting.

We then proceed to Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4, which opens with a very Bach-like piece based on the older composer’s A Musical Offering. By the time he reaches the final “Danza,” however, he has clearly moved from Leipzig to Rio de Janeiro.

Following Villa-Lobos, we return to Ginastera for his Danzas argentinas. This is a mature work by the composer, and it shows: there is much greater subtlety in the writing as well as an even more daring use of chromatic and extended harmony—and yet, the third piece in this suite revisits the rumbling chromatics of the first piano sonata, adding some new twists to it. Then it’s back to Villa-Lobos for his Cicio brasileiro, a fine piece in a medium tempo in which the right hand plays a repeated lick while the left, in the bass range, transports us with an interesting melodic line interspersed with bass notes.

By the end of this suite, the join is really jumpin’ with Latin rhythms, thus me move right along to Moisés Moleiro’s peppy Jaropo, one of those happy little encore pieces that audiences just adore—and you’ll like it, too, with its moto perpetuo rhythm underneath very jolly Latin tunes on the top. After we get a little breather with the soft, elegant Mañanita caraqueña of Castellanos, we wrap things up with the one 19th-century composer on this disc, Heráclio Fernández, and his zippy little El Diablo suelto.

This is a fine recital balancing great art with entertainment, and Rameix handles both with charm and good taste. A really delightful recital!

—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley

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