Thursday, 18 March 2021

10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America

Mónica Cárdenas 10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America, Sonata Herencia; Mónica Cárdenas; Tonada VP
Mónica Cárdenas 10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America, Sonata Herencia; Mónica Cárdenas; Tonada VP

Reviewed by Robert Hugill on 17 March 2021 Star rating: 3.0 (★★★)
Latin American and Western classical music fuse in an engaging sequence of preludes and fugues by a Spanish-Peruvian composer

On this disc from Tonada VP, the pianist and composer Mónica Cárdenas plays her own 10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America and Sonata Herencia. Cárdenas is Spanish-Peruvian and currently based in Germany, having studied in Lima, at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoires in Kiev and Moscow, and at the West London University.

Like a number of recording projects, this disc is very much a product of lockdown.

Cárdenas had written the first Prelude and Fugue in 2019 but at the time had had no intention of creating a set of ten. But during lockdown last year she wrote nine more. The music fuses Western classical forms with Latin American rhythms and melodic material, very much in the spirit of Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiros. But when writing her second Prelude and Fugue, Cárdenas moved away from her own Peruvian roots and the work incorporates a Venezualan dance, the Joropo, yet there are also references to night-club jazz. This mix continues throughout the ten pieces, with harmonies from both classical music and jazz, and material from dances from Perua, Venezuala, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba, plus Spanish influences too.

The results are an engaging fusion, not quite classical but not quite traditional either, and Cárdenas wholeheartedly mixes styles and influences, yet you can also feel at the back of her mind the constant presence of Bach and his preludes and fugues, the bedrock of this genre. For those interested in the particular styles, Cárdenas includes the primary dance-form in the titles so the the first is Prelude and Fugue Yugo whilst the second is Prelude Joropo and Fugue Feeling. There is something engagingly delicious in the idea of fugue based on a Latin American dance, and the results are indeed engaging, but Cárdenas also brings in structural interest too, these are not dances, but fugues using dance rhythms.

Something similar is a play in Cárdenas' 2019 Sonata Herencia. The name means heritage; the work is a similar fusion of Western classical and Latin American, and Cárdenas describes it as a tribute to Afro-Peruvian culture and the Africans who came to Peru and Latin America with the 16th century Spanish conquerors. So the first movement includes a Festejo which is a an Afro dance from the coast of Peru, and during the movement the rhythm tries to imitate the Peruvian cajón, the main accompanying instrument ofAfro-Peruvian dance.

I have to confess to being completely ignorant of most Latin American dance, but Cárdenas her fusion so engaging that you never feel you have to dig further. I found it more of a disc to dip into rather than play from beginning to end, but it makes for lively and imaginative listening.

Mónica Cárdenas - 10 Preludes and Fugues of Latin America
1) Prelude - Fugue Yugo     [4'18]
2) Prelude Joropo - Fugue Feeling     [3'59]
3) Prelude Zapateo - Fugue Para un Encierro     [4'36]
4) Prelude Zamacueca - Fugue Festejo     [3'17]
5) Prelude Malambo- Fugue Tango     [3'38]
6) Prelude Bossa - Fugue Chorinho     [3'45]
7) Prelude Mambo- Fugue Habanera     [5'03]
8) Prelude Reina Cristina- Fugue Andalu     [4'40]
9) Prelude Sin Tierra  - Fugue De Vuelta a Casa     [2'55]
10) Prelude Fugue Huapango     [3'09]
Mónica Cárdenas - Sonata Herencia [13'35]
Mónica Cárdenas (piano)
Recorded 5 December 2020, Timmendorfer Strand, Germany
TONADA VP 1CD [50:15]

Available from Amazon, from Spotify.



The blog is free, but I'd be delighted if you were to show your appreciation by buying me a coffee.

Elsewhere on this blog
  • Pure joy: Linus Roth and Jose Gallardo in virtuoso dance music for violin and piano from Bartok and Stravinsky to Piazzolla and Wienawski - CD review
  • A Clemenza for our times: Mozart's final opera in a stripped back production live streamed from Bergen - opera review
  • Next December in Berlin: I chat to Timothy Wayne-Wright, artistic director of Choralspace's Winter Festival 2021 - interview
  • Lunaris: an evocative and eclectic journey through the phases of the moon from two artists known for their performances in Early Music, Jorge Jiménez and Anna Stegmann  - CD review
  • Modern Czech Masters: flute sonatas by Jindřich Feld, Jan Novák, Erwin Schulhoff and Bohuslav Martinů - CD review
  • Vocal Cords: for his debut recording guitarist Andrea Belmonte explores early 19th-century Italian guitar music  - CD review
  • Happy return: three of Purcell's Royal odes from Robert King and the King's Consort - CD review
  • The undeservedly neglected lieder of Josephine Lang are at the centre of this lovely recital from Scottish-German mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison  - CD review
  • To counter the way memory disappears and fades into the background: composer Raymond Yiu on the ideas, both musical and personal, behind the works on his latest disc - interview
  • An intimate & private piece: Heinrich Biber's Requiem in a superb new account from Vox Luminis & Freiburg Barockconsort on Alpha - CD review
  • The Catalyst Quartet's Uncovered: the young American ensemble explores the chamber music of Coleridge-Taylor - CD review
  • A Musical Zoo:Ashley Riches and Joseph Middleton's delightfully wide-ranging recital on Chandos - CD review
  • Home

No comments:

Post a comment

Popular Posts this month