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Canción Sin Palabras

1.Moises Moleiro; Joropo
2.Luisa Elena Paesano; Vals Ilusion
3.Heitor Villa-Lobos; As Tres Marias
No. 1 Alnitah
4.No. 2 Alnilam
5.No. 3 Mintika
6.Licio Mancebo; Cancion sin Palabras
7.Danza Dominicana
8.Manuel Ponce; Intermezzo
9.Scherzino Mexicano
10.Juan Morel Campos; Felices Dias
11. Manuel Tavares; Margarita
12. Olimpio Otero; La Cuñadita
13.Juan Morel Campos; Laura y Georgina
14.No Me Toques
15.Luis A. Calvo; Lejano Azul
16.Pasillo "Entusiasmo"
17.Jose White; "La Bella Cubana"
18.Antonio Maria Romeu; Linda Cubana
19.Ernesto Lecuona; Crisantemo
20.Noche Azul
21.Alejandro Garcia Caturla
Berceuse Campesina
22.Astor Piazolla; Milonga del Angel
23. Alberto Ginastera; Milonga
24. Malambo


Moises Moleiro (1904-1979)
Joropo (Danza)

A prominent Venezuelan composer, Moises Moleiro was born in Zaraza, Guarico on March 28, 1904. He studied piano with Don Salvador Narcisco and harmony and counterpoint with Vicente Emilio Sojo. He graduated as Professor of piano with honors in 1927. Moleiro’s compositional catalogue includes works for orchestra, chamber, vocal and solo instruments. His pieces were highly influenced by the Venezuelan works of the 19th century. As a result his compositions are characterized by a simple, formal structure that incorporates traditional European music while adhering to its nationalistic voice. In 1982 Moleiro’s “Joropo” was selected by the Teresa Carreño International Piano Competition as the obligatory piece of the year. The joropo is a folk dance from the Venezuelan and Colombian plains without mountains and starlit skies inspired the native cowboys to create an energetic dance wherein an ostinato bass supports an euphoric melody.

Luisa Elena Paesano,
Vals Ilusion

Luisa Elena Paesano completed her academic music studies at the Conservatorio Juan Manuel Olivares in Caracas, Venezuela. She is recognized as one of the most successful composers of Venezuelan popular music. As an educator, Paesano has labored in the field of music education in her homeland’s public schools. She has published two books: Coleccion de Canciones Infantiles Venezolanas, and a book of Piezas Venezolanas. Among her musical compositions are “El Trancao”, “Pajarillo”, “Ilusion”, and “Nostalgia”. All of them have been well received by wide audiences for their use of syncopated rhythms and their beautiful and fresh melodies. “Vals Ilusion” was the theme for a very popular radio program, Juventud Musical de Venezuela, and demonstrates the influence of the traditional Venezuelan vals.


Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
As Tres Marias (The Three Marias)

Heito Villa-Lobos is regarded throughout the world as the foremost Brazilian composer of the 20th century. His output is great (747 compositions) and embraces all performance media. He composed principally for the cello and the guitar, but he also published 54 piano works, including five concerti, a fantasy (“Momoprecoce”), Choruses Nos. 8 and 11 (all of the above for piano and orchestra), and suites. Villa-Lobos used his creativity and the unlimited cultural resources of Brazil to discover new textures and rhythms in music, and adopted Impressionistic techniques and Brazilian folk music. Villa-Lobos was a troubadour; through his exuberant imagination he was able to express the sentiments of an entire nation, which was made up of immigrants from Europe, the Negro slaves from Africa, and the indigenous natives. “As Tres Marias” is the smallest of a group of three short piano pieces. These pieces were composed in his later years when he was deeply involved in music education, and reflects his concern with children and how to communicate with them sharing their joys and aspirations. These pieces are based on a well-known folk story in Brazil, which is roughly translated as follows: “Once upon a time, there were three little girls, the three Marias of the earth, who romped and played in the countryside of Brazil. They were happy and gay and the best of friends. Always smiling, they traveled the path of life together. So that this trinity might be served as a perpetual symbol for humanity, they are preserved as eternal stars in the heavens to brighten the way for other children of our planet”.


Liciano Mancebo
Cancion Sin Palabras,
Danza Dominicana

Liciano Mancebo studied piano with the Spanish instructor Pedro Lerma, and graduated with a degree in piano performance from the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica of Santo Domingo in 1952. Later, he traveled to Italy where he studied harpsichord at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome. His most recent works for piano include a suite with four movements entitled “Homenaje a la Danza”, and a collection of “Ocho Piezas para piano”. He is currently Professor of Music at the Conservatorio de Santo Domingo where he was also director in the 1980’s. “Cancion Sin Palabras” is written in the binary form. The harmonic treatment is Impressionistic in its essence with the melodic line formed by parallel fourth-chords. In spite of the syncopated rhythm accompaniment the melody evolves effortlessly. The “Danza Dominicana” follows the traditional Dominican meringue dance musical structure: the paseo, meringue and jaleo. The original melodic themes have been inspired by the simplicity of a peasant song, and the rhythmic structure shows and experimentation of both traditional and modern approaches. The last eight-measures after the jaleo represents the coda that falls into a grandiose finale.


Manuel María Ponce (1882-1948)
Scherzino Mexicano

Manuel María Ponce is considered the leader of the nationalistic school in Mexican music. His inclination for music was supported by his parents since early childhood. At the age of fifteen he was the cathedral organist of his hometown. In 1904, a year of study in Mexico City was followed by study in Bologna with Bossi, and subsequently in Berlin where he was a pupil of Liszt’s disciple Martin Krause. Back in Mexico he taught at the Mexico City Conservatory; an among his pupils was Carlos Chavez. In 1925 he moved to Paris to study with Paul Dukas. There he met Heitor Villa-Lobos who inspired him profoundly. Ponce’s early piano pieces are rooted in the romantic salon tradition, which was popular in Mexico City in the early twentieth century. “Intermezzo” and “Scherzino Mexicano” are examples from this period, and reveal a strong influence of Chopin’s romanticism.


Juan Morel Campos (1857-1896)
Felices Dias,
Laura y Georgina,
No me Toques (Danzas)

Born in Ponce on May 16, 1857, Juan Morel Campos began his musical studies at the tender age of eight under Prof. Antonio Egipciaco. He later became the most advanced student of Manuel G. Tavares, whose influence can be perceived in some of his first compositions. On April 26, 1896, during a concert in Ponce, he suffered a stroke that led to his death on May 12, just four days before his 39th birthday. Campos wrote a multitude of works, half of which are danzas for the piano. There are two basic types of danzas: the lyrical and the playful dances. The song-like or affective ones are Felices Dias and Laura y Georgina. Their intense, romantic character and long phrases characterize the affective danza. “No Me Toques” (Don’t Touch Me), is the playful danza or the danza festiva, which has short phrases and a playful, witty character.

Manuel G. Tavarez
Margarita (Danza)

Manuel Tavarez was born on November 28, 1843 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began his musical studies in San Juan, and at the age 15 he moved to Paris where he studied at the Music Conservatory under Auber and D’Albert. His studies were interrupted by a brain arrest, which caused him a partial paralysis of his left hand and a hearing impairment. Back in Puerto Rico he would overcome those problems and after playing several concerts in San Juan he moved to the city of Ponce, where he gave piano lessons. He taught many of his students in the French pianistic style and stimulated the creative talent of his most famous student, Juan Morel Campos is considered the Father of the Puertorrican danza. He was responsible for giving it a delicate and romantic touch, which made it suitable for the concert salon. His most famous composition, and a good example of this is his beautiful, affective danza, “Margarita”, composed in 1870.

Olimpio Otero (1845-1911)
La Cuñadita

Olimpio Otero was a composer, musical editor, and a political leader. Otero, along with his brother, Antonio, formed the “Bazar Atocha”, the first publishing house to publish and distribute Puertorrican music. Their efforts promoted the music of the most important composers of his time like Tavarez, and Juan Morel Campos. “La Cuñadita”, is one of his most well-known pieces. It is a short, festive work, one which resonates the rich musical legacy set by his predecessors.


Luis A. Calvo (1882-1945)
Intermezzo #2 – Lejano Azul
Entusiasmo (Pasillo)

Luis Calvo was a prolific composer of piano music in the first half of the twentieth century. He received a formal education at the Academia Nacional de Musica, where he studied a number of instruments and mastered the cello. As a composer of salon music he composed many danzas, valses and pasillos. One of his earliest public compositions, “La Danza”, was performed with great success in 1908. “Lejano Azul”, an intermezzo and “Entusiasmo”, a pasillo are representative of a significant period of Colombian music. “Lejano Azul” is one of his most famous and beautiful danzas in which we can detect the characteristic longing quality of his music. “Entusiasmo” displays the innocent and playful, popular music that characterizes this Colombian folkloric dance.


Jose White (1836-1918)
La Bella Cubana

Jose White learned the rudiments of the violin and music from his father and later studied with Cuban professionals. He made his debut at the age of sixteen and was accompanied by Louis Moreau Gottschalk; he later became a celebrated violinist and performed as a soloist throughout Europe and Latin America. He was admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris, where due to his successful career, he was appointed professor of violin and made his home in that city until his death. White composed several important works for chamber, vocal and orchestral music. He also wrote shorter characteristic pieces of which “La Bella Cubana”, for violin and piano, is the best known. Chopin’s influence is present in the manner the cantinela-like melody is treated. However, this is interrupted by a Cuban contradanza middle section with a popular Cuban syncopated rhythm.

Antonio Maria Romeu (1876-1955)
La Linda Cubana (Danzon)

Antonio Maria Romeu is considered one of the greatest composers of Cuban popular music. Known for the social content of his lyrics and outstanding musicianship, Romeu mastered the Cuban danzon. The danzon, which differed slightly from its predecessor the contradanza, had existed in Cuba since 1865. A popular dance with Afro-Cuban rhythms, the danzon became the national dance in Cuba during the twenties. It later lost its popularity only to reemerge with enthusiasm in the 1950’s. “La Linda Cubana” is one of Romeu’s finest danzones and combines a classical influence with popular rhythms.

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963)
Noche Azul

Ernesto Lecuona, a composer and virtuoso pianist, was born in Havana and graduated from the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica. He studied composition with Spanish composer Joaquin Nin. In his many compositions for piano, Lecuona enriched the language of the instrument by developing and using a legacy of Afro-Cuban rhythms coupled with Cuban popular folklore. Lecuona stands as a link between the virtuoso pianist tradition of the late 19th century and the widened musical expression of the modern era that incorporated idioms ranging from jazz to popular Latin American dance rhythms. Lecuona wrote numerous character pieces, genres of solo keyboard works of distinct form and sustained mood. “Crisantemo” and “Noche Azul” are prime examples of a character piece, which reflects the exhuberant creativity of Lecuona’s pianism in the salon music style. In these compositions Lecuona expressed his most romantic feelings that reveals the other Lecuona, that of the grand European tradition.

Alejandro Garcia Caturla (1906-1940)
La Berceuse Campesina

Along with the great Cuban composer Amadeo Roldan (1900-1939), Alejandro Caturla was responsible for an important chapter in the history of Cuban music. Caturla took composition lessons from Pedro San Juan while studying law at the University of Havana. He then moved to France to study with Nadia Boulanger. Upon returning to his native-land, he continued to compose and was the chief proponent of the Afrocanismo, a primitivistic approach of the music of the black Cubans, using the traditional musical idioms. He experimented with the Afro-Cuban rhythms along with the new Europena musical trends creating a new musical language. Sadly, the music world lost him when he was shot to death at the age of thirty-four. “Berceuse Campesina” is a lullaby with a free recitative melody over an Afro-Cuban obstinate bass accompaniment. It has been acclaimed as one of the most beautiful Cuban contemporary piano pieces of the Twentieth Century.


Astor Piazolla (1921-1994)
La Milonga del Angel

Astor Piazolla studied piano and composition with Alberto Ginastera and later with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He was also a self-taught popular musician, who discovered the secrets of the tango in the streets, cafes, and cabarets of 1940’s Buenos Aires. Developing quickly as a composer he devoted more and more of his time to creating a popular music style that had immense appeal. Often using the familiar tango form, Piazolla employed new rhythmic elements and fresh harmonic twists to create something quite distinct and original. “Milonga del Angel” employs the traditional romantic Milonga form with a sad, flowing, song-like melody. Here, Piazolla’s genius is manifested in his use of a simple pianistic language to convey dramatic intensity in a subtle way.

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)

Born in Buenos Aires, Alberto Ginastera was a leading 20th century South American composer. In Buenos Aires he studied at the Conservatorio Alberto Williams and at the Conservatorio Nacional. He received a Guggenheim award and lived in the United States in 1946 and 1947. Ginastera returned to Argentina and organized the Center for Advanced Musical Studies at the Institutot Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, serving as its director from 1963 to 1971. He later made his home in Geneva. A master of contemporary compositional technique, Ginastera created his own musical language that incorporated and eventually surpassed nationalism, neo-impressionism, and serialism. Ginastera’s “Milonga” is an evocative and nostalgic piano work with a delicate, haunting melody. In “Malambo”, Ginastera expresses the vitality of Argentinean folklore using a dance from the Pampa, symbolized by the figure of the gaucho peasant, the Argentinan plains cowboy. Here he combines the development of rhythmic elements and uses the polytonality that gives this dance its primitive and vigorous character.

Martha Marchena

This recording is dedicated in memory of Julia and Laura

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