Americas Without Frontiers: Works for Piano

In my new CD, the sixth of my collection for Nimbus Records, you can hear through the music of a continent the joy of the dances alongside the historical suffering product of the social struggles that have endured, today and for the last 500 years, the concentration of different cultures on the American soil. These works are born from an ancestral knowledge and a concern to understand the roots and amalgam of the many musical and cultural variety present in our societies. Composers and performers alike rejoice in the richness and beauty of the magnificent blend of three ubiquitous cultures, the Amerindian, the European and the Black African, which form our “terrestrial rainbow” as Eduardo Galeano calls it. This multiculturalism makes us Americans, without frontiers.

All the composers here present have explored in depth the music of their countries creating their own musical languages. Each piece has a story to tell; Also local poetry has had great influence as names like those of Atahualpa Yupanqui and Alberto Arvelo Torrealba, among many others, have been invoked in different ways in them. For several years now, I have tended to create my recital programmes, playing solo piano works and others with special guests that enhance the music with their impressive knowledge of genres and styles. In this case Carlos “Nené” Quintero, Carlos Rodríguez, Manuel Rangel and Edwin Arellano accompany me in six of the tracks. I hope you will like this collection that encompasses so many feelings; From the joyous rhythms to remembrance, nostalgia and the tragedy of suicide passing also through childhood songs and stories plus the subtlety and smooth swing of the music of a continent. Clara Rodríguez

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"Nobody is missing the extraordinary compositional richness that America holds throughout the continent, that's why Clara Rodriguez presents a deep and varied composition repertoire based on Venezuelan, Argentine, Cuban, Colombian or North American themes including , some of them in different styles. There is no doubt that Clara Rodriguez, with her most recent work, presents us with a globalized but above all multicultural, multidisciplinary and heterogeneous work." Joan Carles Abelenda, Sonograma Magazine

“A superb release" ***** International Piano Magazine

"The multiculturalist side of the Americas is celebrated in this vivacious disc by Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez, from Amerindian to European to Black African. Right from the off, the atmosphere is that of fiesta, with added maracas to Genaro Prieto’s Apure en un viaje, a Venezuelan joropo. Colombian Germán Darío Pérez contributes a bambuco, Ancestro, before 17 Piezas Infantiles by Venezuelan Antonio Estevez speak of a depth that belies their title. Rodriguez plays this music to the manner born, finding infinite tenderness and nostalgic regret. Two tangos by Nazareth, full of energy (the second is the well known Odeon), lead to a robust account of Gershwin’s Three Preludes before Cuban Jose Maria Vitier’s glorious Danza de fin de siglo, with its glittering passagework, emerges. Lamothe’s slinky La dangereuse offers another highlight. A superb release.” Colin Clarke

"The Venezuelan (pianist, Clara Rodriguez) is a doughty champion of Latin-American music, and her programme of piano pieces reaches below and often jaunty surface to capture the region's deeper soul. The Venezuelan works by Antonio Estévez and Juan Carlos Núñez are (especially) captivating, while the Gershwin Three Preludes are a class act." Stephen Pettit, Sunday Times on NI6346 Americas Without Frontiers

"This is a CD that goes straight to the heart. It made me daydream and I vibrated with your beautiful sound and endless tenderness" Guiomar Narváez, pianist

"There is no doubt that Clara Rodriguez, with her most recent work, presents us with a globalized but above all multicultural, multidisciplinary, and heterogeneous work." Sonograma Magazine

"Clara Rodríguez is a poet of the piano, if I was a pianist I would like to play my pieces as she does." Antonio Estévez

"Played with affection and consummate virtuosity... A disc to enjoy and savour by afficionados and newcomers to a fascinating repertoire, of which Clara Rodríguez is an undisputed champion." Ray Picot, ILAMS Ibero Latin American Music Society, London 2017

"Clara Rodriguez's latest recording, Americas Without Frontiers (Nimbus Alliance NI6346) takes us around the area explored in her concert and beyond. Its impact is immediate and positive, though treading in some familiar areas from this pianist’s discography, the album is an altogether new experience.Rather imaginatively Clara Rodríguez bookends the album with some idiomatic arrangements which incorporate subtle percussion. These also pop up in places across the programme, though they never jar, but rather point up the unique interface in South American and Caribbean art music and more popular styles. Listening to Nazareth firstly on solo piano and then with the percussion is inspired, and you wonder why this is not done more often. Whilst there are some names of composers who will be unfamiliar, the choice of music is perfect, as one dance rhythm slips into another. There are also extra-musical concepts behind the album, which are interesting and shows how well connected Ms Rodríguez is with the world in which this music was created.A very important connection is made in this album to the 2016 centenary of the Venezuelan, Antonio Estévez, with the wonderfully idiomatic 17 Pieces infantiles, which resulted in the composer being given the National Music Award in 1957. These are fascinating short pieces which sound beguilingly simple in Clara Rodriquez’ hands, which I am sure they are not! The individual pieces exhibit many mood changes, breathing a distinctive indigenous air, but always tuneful and interesting. They are played with affection and consummate virtuosity and represent some of the composer’s best work for the piano, and it is surprising they are not better known.Another highlight for me was the selection of 5 Studies by Ariel Ramírez, which, like his wonderful Alfonsina y el mar, effortlessly conjure the area of Río de la Plata.Across the album, familiar pieces breathe a new air in transformed surroundings and with such dedicated performances.In short this is a disc to enjoy and savour by afficionados and newcomers to a fascinating repertoire, of which Clara Rodríguez is an undisputed champion. Ray Picot

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