Pianista is particularly near and dear to my heart. We built this recording around Carlos’ seven-movement suite, Minotaur in the Labyrinth, commissioned by Ted Viviani for three pianists, including myself. Completed at the end of May 2020 during the early throes of COVID, a week following its completion Carlos underwent the first of three brain surgeries during the month of June. He made a full recovery after three months, but COVID subsequently made it impossible for three separate pianists to rehearse and record together, so in September of 2021 we decided that I would record all three parts myself. Luckily, we had dates reserved at Skywalker Sound for December 1-3.
As the suite is around 28 minutes, we then considered what pieces would have elements in common with Carlos’ music, which combines elements of tango, Argentine folkloric rhythms, and jazz idioms. The Kapustin and Salgán works we chose perfectly capture those elements, and together with Carlos’ suite, create a rich musical tapestry.
The first and third pieces in the Kapustin group, which bookend the 8 Concert Etudes Op. 40, remind me of the late, great jazz pianist Chick Corea, whose playing I have admired and studied since I was in my teens. Kapustin, himself a brilliant pianist, knew exactly how to compose so that classical pianists such as myself would play his music with style and panache. Contemplation is a moving and heartfelt piece, and I was immediately drawn to its gorgeous theme and harmonies and how Kapustin develops each of them.
The Salgán tangos are staples of the repertoire, which Salgán himself performed and recorded. La Llamo Silbando is a tango in a major key – rare for tango – and is very playful and entertaining with some elements of jazz harmonies. Aquellos Tangos Camperos relates more to the Pampas region of Argentina than the urban music of Buenos Aires. Don Agustin Bardi, which is Salgán’s homage to the music of this earlier renowned tango composer, is the most famous of the three tangos.
Thank you to everyone who made this recording possible!
— Allison Brewster Franzetti