Thursday, June 04, 2015

A Barely Controlled Fire

Gabriela Montero is certainly one of the finest pianists recording. Her emotive playing is like listening to a barely controlled fire. This is evidenced on her recent project.

She performs the first three tracks with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas (conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto) in a delicious rendition of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. Of course the composition itself is a delight, but in these hands it is even more stirring and wonderful.

The next piece is Montero's own composition "Ex Patria: In Memoriam" described on her website as, "an unapologetic musical commentary on Venezuela today, ravaged by violent crime, corruption and economic collapse." Her passion and love for her native country and her thoughts on the the corruption which plagues it is clear to anyone who follows her  on social media. This piece gives expression to the beauty and the savagery that is present day Venezuela. Part dirge, part rant, part love poem: "Ex Patria" is wholly moving.

I would put Gabriela Montero right up there with Keith Jarrett as an improviser, and the three gorgeous pieces which close the album are fine examples of why. Her playing here is so delicate and bright, you may think you are hearing the opening of flowers.