Thursday, December 30, 2010

Miriam Méndez: Bach Por Flamenco (2005)

I really love records that create a unique blend of very different styles: On Bach Por Flamenco Miriam Méndez an exceptional classical pianist creates an incredible mixture (guess what?) of baroque and flamenco. Miriam Méndez is an exceptional classical pianist from a family of great musical tradition. Having been a student of Lazar Berman, she studied at the Conservatory of Seville and Barcelona, and specialized in Bach's work in Belgium , Switzerland, Holland and Italy.
Bach Por Flamenco includes parts of the music of Bach adapted and transformed impressively to flamenco emphasizing its true essence. The record features the first movement from "Concerto in G minor" and several preludes of "The Well-Tempered Clavier”. The great piano work and the flamenco arrangements are accompanied by guitar (Eugenio Iglesias), percussion (Mariano Bizarraza), violin (Tania Vinokur), cello (Ángel Morilla) and dancing (Manuel Vargas, yes you can hear the heals) plus support from the Yerbabuena choir. All in all this is a very exiting record and it really makes you wanting to see the artist's show!

Preview | Buy! | Myspace

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gonzales: Solo Piano (2004)

I knew some Gonzales earlier records / releases (and also later ones) but I didn't really like this particular kind electronica downtempo releases. On solo piano he tried something different: Being apparently an excellent pianist he delivered some beautiful compositions with a sort of minimalism style reminding me of Erik Satie. I think Gonzales summarizes the record best in the liner notes:
"16 Piano themes for left hand accompaniment and right hand melody: Although they say the piano can create the most colors of any instrument, it is actually black and white, much like an old silent movie. Staring down at my hands, I imagine each piano piece as a shadow against the wall" - Gonzales.
He also released a songbook containing the songs. The youtube clip below is the first part (the movie is split in seven parts) of Gonzales playing live at Angoulême, France in 2006. It is a real pleasure to see how differently he interprets his own songs. Higly recommended!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bernd Steidl: Psycho Acoustic Overture (1991)

"Psycho Acoustic Overture" describes already pretty much where this record takes us: It does not really fit into standard genres as it combines complex arrangements and heaviness with an incredible nylon-string acoustic guitar. Bavarian guitarist Bernd Steidl, in addition to being an amazing technical player, is a talented composer and arranger, augmenting his furious acoustic runs with drums and bass, harp, grand piano, and operatic female vocals.
For a sample of his skill, listen to his near-unbelievable solo studies, "Irrlichter" and "Will-O-The-Wisp", as well as the stunning harp-guitar duet, "Jeux d'eau," in which he doubles the harp's arpeggios note-for-note at Pentium speed. "Psycho Acoustic Overture" is a one-of-a-kind, essential album for fans of neo-classical guitar music.
This record already dates back to 1991 and taking this fact into account the record's sound is really incredible. Unfortunately Steidl does not seem to be very active recently.

Preview | Buy! | discogs