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Old Havana Chamber Music, Vol. II

Yalil Guerra

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Customer Reviews

The Embracement and Captivity of Great Music

It is not everyday one has the chance to come across such an accomplished and exquisite collection of music as on this occasion. This very energetic, versatile, and dazzling styled modern composer has combined and grouped together not only an extensive selection, but a polished, virtuoso, masterfully conceived and musically absolutely well rounded set of compositions on which each peace presents to you with blunt and clear ideas and sceneries, and all of it makes up for a tremendous music compilation characterized by indelible distinctive musical marks. A brilliant and colossal musical effort and outcome from this very creative and leading-edge artist which definitely places and prizes his work among the very first and most highly rated one out there. Thank you once again for more great music!

Album Notes by the Composer

CD Notes:

The recording project was inaugurated with the work Ab Imo pectore ("With all my heart"), for piano, violin and cello, which was dedicated to the prestigious group B3: Brouwer Trio (Valencia, Spain. This composition has the form of a Theme with Variations and Finale, which exhibits the main theme and develops it through seven variations of different nature, shifting the tempos, colors and the main theme. The Finale part groups all the elements and cells used throughout the piece. The main theme of this work exhibits elements of Afro-Cuban music. This theme appears masked in the variations with a contemporary pan-tonal language, becoming imperceptible in many cases.

Sofia, for guitar, is dedicated to my daughter. The work has a sweet air, with a melody that is presented in Section A. It combines attractive harmonics twists while maintaining the tenderness of a child in his first days of life. The recording took place in February of 2011.

The next piece is called La Rumba, for clarinet and string quartet. The A sections are energetic, fast in tempo and very virtuosic, where you can appreciate the extensive use of chromatic lines. Section B, a more intimate, is where the clarinet presents a melody that features a Spanish like theme. In C, the clarinet develops a nostalgic and dramatic subject, in a Contradanza rhythm, which leads to C', where the violins inherits this role, being the clarinet the one that adorns the texture with interesting riffs. The central theme of the composition is recreated again in A', which is developed with variations thereof. Section D begins with a harmonic cloud in the strings, that gives entrance to the clarinet, which highlights a romantic and gentle theme, like an imaginary walk at sunset in the Malecón in Havana. To complete the work, section A" returns, creating a tense atmosphere in the Coda to conclude the piece brilliantly.

Ache, for flute and cello, is a work in three movements. In Havana, Lisette recorded the composition again, along with cellist Alejandro Rodríguez. The first movement focuses on a rhythmic cells inspired by the Cuban son (A), through a section of slow and mysterious character (B), returning to section A for recapitulation.then section A recap again. The second movement is permeated with a texture of romantic melodies, which shows a rhythm of danzón at the end of the movement, accompanied by a sorrowful melody on the flute. The third movement is cheerful and virtuosic, characterized by the jetés in the cello and a melody of Spanish character in the flute.

The Suite El Batey, my first work for piano, is a composition in six parts where I try to depict the different characters in this imaginary Batey. The work begins with El Tostao, who is a madman, always running and talking to himself. El Dulcero, as its name suggests is the person who makes in the Village the “majarete with milk”, emanating cubanía and love in its culinary art. El Wititío dormido is a peculiar character, interested in politics, but at the same time he is boring. He is not well understood when expressing his own ideas and sometimes falls asleep during his lectures. El Saltarín is the dancer of the Batey. Its rhythm is infectious and elegant. La Criollita is the most beautiful girl in the region, flirtatious but not offering his love to any suitor. To conclude the Suite I decided to end it with a very present character in the culture of Cuba: El Babalao. In this part I used a Chant to Ebioso, an ancient and popular theme. Elizabeth Rebozo is the pianist who premiered and recorded the piece. Rebozo's interpretation is superb, virtuosic in character and filled with cubanía. The present album also includes Seduction, a work dedicated to Rebozo. The main theme is romantic, treated with melodic and captivating harmonies, which evolves into a section where the virtuosity and contemporary elements are more evident.

In Primum Bellum ("The First to go to war") dedicated to Martha Marchena. For this recording I had the opportunity to have the very talented flutist Salpy Kerkorian. At the piano, I had the privilege of having the work brilliantly performed by pianist Bryan Pezzone. Again, I think of an imaginary history for the work. It is the story of a soldier going to war (Section A). The composition begins simulating a battle in which the piano plays accented beats and the flute plays virtuoso lines. The next part, B, shows the reunion with his beloved after a battle. The wounded soldier returns, and the love and passion of his wife makes him makes him cured. Continued planning of a new military struggle of the warrior, which is reflected musically with a free fuga that takes him to remember his beloved once again, returning to the battlefield. After a victory, he returns home, seriously wounded. On his deathbed his beloved strives once more for a cure, but this times all fails. Our hero leaves this world with the thrust and energy of his war’s spirits. The work concludes with the main theme (A'), followed by a coda that draws a succession of scales and harmonies to depict this rise of the hero to another dimension.

Guajira Blues, for oboe, violin, viola and cello, is a work dedicated to Francisco Castillo, who played the premiere in Pasadena, California, in 2009. The work is in one movement, and is represents through its sweetness and character, the profile of a Guajira (peasant woman) under a blue sky. The structure of the work is as follows: A, which introduces the theme and prints the style of the composition; B, a fully melancholy air, with impressionistic and romantic traits, describing a lonely night under the cloak of the moon (a later section is taken up with instrumental color variations); and C, which starts with an arpeggio texture in the strings, used to permeate the oboe tenderness with great musicality. The work concludes with an accelerando that gradually leads to the main theme, section A''.

Yalil Guerra
Burbank, CA.

Old Havana Chamber Music, Vol. II, Yalil Guerra
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Jun 01, 2011

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