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Beneking: 10 Valses Melancoliques

Carlos Marquez

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Customer Reviews

Stephan Beneking music.... Pure piano

Truly beautiful music. First heard on sound cloud. Difficult to choose a favorite piece or album. Superb piano compositions on all his albums. :)

Beneking: 10 Valses Melancoliques - Reviewed by Bob Sherman

Da-da-da
Da-dum
Da-dum
Da-dum

Spoken at the right cadence, almost everyone will recognize this as a waltz. The American TV show “The Big Bang Theory” even had an episode where a non-English speaking cab driver – after hearing this - immediately knew that the girls wanted to be taken to a place where they could dance the waltz!

Which brings me to the music that I wanted to discuss, slow waltzes - in this case – “Beneking: 10 Valses Melancoliques”. This was composed by Stephan Beneking, and played by Carlos Marquéz.

Stephan Beneking, who is based in Berlin, Germany, is an award winning composer of piano music in the classical/romantic style. Carlos Marquéz, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has also won awards for his classical and modern piano recordings, which range from Chopin and Scriabin to Philip Glass.

And the album that they created together, “Beneking: 10 Valses Melancoliques”, shows both artists “bringing their A Game” to this collaboration.

All ten Valses are relatively short – ranging from 1 minute, 28 seconds to 2 minutes, 55 seconds – but are all musically mature with thematic structures that successfully convey concepts, emotions, and virtuosity.

And there are a wide range of themes in these pieces, which makes this collection even more compelling. For example Valse No. II has the feeling of a minuet (which is also played in ¾ time), while Valse No. V has a cinematic quality that you might also hear in a love ballad. I particularly like Valse No. VIII, “Le Desir Eternel” which is hauntingly beautiful. This piece also won First Prize in the 2013 “Free-Scores Piano Solo Classic” Competition.

I enjoy the use of trills in these works. Webster’s Dictionary describes trills as “the alternation of two musical tones a diatonic second apart”. These are the ornamentation that composers put into their music to give it a “shimmering” quality, thus making the involved notes less static. I think of trills as the sprinkles that you put on top of ice cream. They just make it better! And Stephan’s use of trills is masterful. He knows just where and when to add them, thus adding more vivacity to his compositions. And Carlos’s playing of these trills demonstrates his great skill in the clean and accurate execution of rapid and difficult musical passages.

Most people associate the waltz with grand ballrooms and elegantly dressed couples circling around the room like planets around the sun. But Stephan’s compositions on this album have more of a feeling of ballet than ballroom. And this belief is reinforced by a beautiful charcoal drawing of a ballerina on the cover.

I am particularly fond of piano music, because of the power and versatility of this instrument. With a 7 octave range (on a grand piano) and the ability for one person to play both the melody and the accompaniment at the same time, I can think of no other instrument which allows a composer – or a musician – to create so many complex and beautiful pieces of music. This results in a “clean” sound that is “pure piano” and which is not blended or compromised by any other instruments. And in this album, which is “pure piano”, Stephan and Carlos present ten works that provide a truly enjoyable listening experience!

Beneking: 10 Valses Melancoliques, Carlos Marquez
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Feb 01, 2013

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