Review of LNT123: Piano Cubano: De algunas zonas del alma
Barela, American Record Guide
All of this is original music by Cuban pianist Marietta Veulens. She gives the impression she has recorded a series of improvisations. What suggests improvisation is her rhythms and her rhythmic elasticity. Her Cuban roots and elements of jazz show in both melody and rhythm.
Before I saw the title for Musica de los Ninos Invisibles (Music of the Invisible Children), my first thought was how unmemorable and simplistic the music seems. Yet I suppose that someone represented as invisible would not readily be planted in memory.
An atmosphere of reverie fills Campanas Consonantes (Consonant Bells), where expressive dissonances are so prolonged that they become consonances. Impossible, you say? It happens in one of the short teaching pieces from Bartok's Mikrokosmos. The next time you hear a church bell, listen for the rich mixtures of tones in the aura of the bell's after-resonance. That is the soothing beauty in this piece.
I was curious to hear La Musica de No Guerra (Music of No War), a ten-minute piece. As if emerging from the resonant gong of a bell, meditative phrases are enveloped in pedals. She describes it as a "conceptual work" using a "dialog of dynamics between extreme softs and louds, and incorporating elements of minimalism and New Age music". She hits the strings directly, with some added pedal effects. The result is a mix of indistinguishable pitches. Quite dramatic. This is opposed by stark textures expressing desolation.
From the Window (Devastation) conveys more of a despondent response to devastation than the devastation itself. Winter Drums is as dark as the music that comes before.
Veulens is a sensitive player with a keen sensibility for piano timbres. Her pedaling technique is extraordinarily refined - a real pleasure to hear.