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Baroque / Gabriela Montero


Release Date: 10/02/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 00234   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gaspar SanzAntonio VivaldiJohann PachelbelGeorge Frideric Handel,   ... 
Performer:  Gabriela Montero
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Following the runaway success of Bach and Beyond, acclaimed pianist Gabriela Montero offers a new disc of her signature improvisations, this time based on some of the most well known themes from the Baroque period.

"I have rarely come across a talent like Gabriela’s. She is a unique artist" - pianist Martha Argerich

R E V I E W S:

"Venezuelan-born classical pianist Gabriela Montero is a noted concert artist who performs written works with orchestras around the world. But she is also an improviser extraordinaire. On this CD she takes 13 well-known themes of the Baroque period plus two she herself came up with,
Read more and creates on-the-spot improvisations on each. They are not jazz improvisations but new variations and impressions inspired by the themes in question... I especially liked her improvisations on my two favorite Baroque themes: the Handel Sarabande and Albinoni’s Adagio. The latter receives the longest improvisation of all at seven minutes and is a jewel of a piece which I for one could hear over and over. Ms. Montero really has something unique going on here."

-- John Sunier, Audiophile Audition

A word of explanation. The normal format for head notes on this site is an opus number, key, and date of composition. But this is not such a disc and EMI itself studiously refrains from going into such detail - and that’s because Gabriela Montero is that most rare of things, a genuine classical improviser. She has her own website and you can set her a suitable challenge and, if you’re lucky, she might improvise on your selected piece.

That’s what she does here. The theme obviously, as the album’s title indicates, is a self-contained one. And so Montero set forth in No1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, in June and July 2007 to compose newly minted, unique takes on a succession of popular baroque favourites.

I know she admires Bill Evans. So perhaps one way of approaching what she does is to bear in mind the limpid, interior and refined expression of which Evans was a master. But there’s also a brazen rhythmically volatile Venezuelan heart beating in Montero’s chest cavity, so one should also be aware of the Jelly Roll Morton in her soul. Morton took classical themes, of course, and ragged them, jazzed them, syncopated them and brought them to rude Sportin’ House life. What Montero does is rather different though there are analogies.

She opens with the jaunty Canarios but soon encounters Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, all four of whish she essays throughout the fifty or so minutes of her recital – Summer and Winter are tagged together and last two minutes! Her Pachelbel has mid nineteenth century romantic affiliations whilst the Handel Sarabande builds to a big, sonorous climax. The Hallelujah chorus is a jokey thing bristling with Ragtime and Mortonesque Spanish Tinge. Handel’s Largo meanwhile is lushly romantic. The Albinoni Adagio is a big improvisation and the one that drifts the farthest, harmonically speaking, from its home port. There are also hints of a composer I suspect Montero likes, Rachmaninoff, in her powerful and rich chording. There are more explicitly jazz based elements – rhythmically at least – in Bach’s Prelude. And when it comes to Winter from the Four Seasons we find the melody emerging from the improvised reverie. The only piece that seems to me too over-extended is the Handel Hornpipe. But it does at least make an immediate contrast to the breezy Scarlatti sonata that follows it with its South American admixtures. And Montero-watchers can note with pleasure her own composition Baroque and Me which offers a kind of prescription for what she does – with a strong Bachian ethos, tight trills, ornaments and harmonic explorations.

Enjoyable and unusual fare then from Montero; true there are some longeurs but if you don’t strive (and occasionally falter) you won’t create such generally zesty and sensitive reshapings.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Canarios by Gaspar Sanz
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
2.
Concerto for Violin in F major, Op. 8 no 3/RV 293 "L'autunno": 1st movement, Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
3.
Canon and Gigue for 3 Violins and Basso Continuo in D major: Canon by Johann Pachelbel
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
4.
Sarabande by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
5.
Baroque and me by Gabriela Montero
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
6.
Messiah, HWV 56: Hallelujah! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
7.
Adagio for Organ and Strings in G minor by Tomaso Albinoni
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007)
This work was reconstructed by Remo Giazotto in 1945 from a fragment by Albinoni. 
8.
Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
9.
Prelude by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Germany 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
10.
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno": 2nd movement, Largo by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
11.
Water Music, HWV 348-350: Hornpipe by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715/1736; London, England 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
12.
Sonata for Keyboard by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
13.
Concerto for Violin in E major, Op. 8 no 1/RV 269 "Primavera": Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
14.
Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno": 1st movement, Allegro non molto by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate": Presto."
Arranger: Gabriela Montero.EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
15.
Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate": 3rd movement, Presto by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno": 1st movement, Allegro non molto."
Arranger: Gabriela Montero.
EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 
16.
Continuum by Gabriela Montero
Performer:  Gabriela Montero (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2007 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London (06/2007 - 07/2007) 

Sound Samples

Improvisation on Sanz: Canarios
Improvisation on Vivaldi: Autumn ('The Four Seasons', Concerto No 3 'Autumn' mov 1)
Improvisation on Pachelbel: Canon (Canon & Gigue in D)
Improvisation on Handel: Sarabande (Suite No 4 in d minor)
Baroque and me
Improvisation on Handel: 'Hallelujah' ('Messiah')
Improvisation on Albinoni: Adagio
Improvisation on Handel: Largo ("Ombra Mai Fu", 'Xerxes')
Improvisation on Bach: Prelude (Violin Solo Partita in E major)
Improvisation on Vivaldi: Winter ('The Four Seasons', Concerto No 4 'Winter' mov 2)
Improvisation on Handel: Hornpipe (Water Music Suite No 2)
Improvisation on Scarlatti: Sonata in d minor
Improvisation on Vivaldi: Spring ('The Four Seasons', Concerto No 1 'Spring' mov 1)
Improvisation on Vivaldi: Summer and Winter ('The Four Seasons', Concerto No 2 'Summer' mov 3 & Concerto No 4 'Winter' mov 1)
Continuum
Improvisation on Purcell: Rondeau (‘Abdelazar')
Improvisation on Clarke: Trumpet Voluntary (Prince of Denmark's March)

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