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The Year That Never Was / Matei Varga

The Year That Never Was / Matei Varga

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Matei Varga writes: “To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy memories feel more or less the same; but the unhappy times are experienced differently by each one of us. We’ve all had some really tough weeks, which sometimes turned into months, and (with a bit of bad luck) into years… I like to think that “off” years help us grow and prepare for the beautiful things that will undoubtedly come our way (I am an optimist at heart), but living through dark times is a complicated process.

The year 2020 was complicated indeed. The world was put on hold and we hardly remember what we did in February, or May, or September… Many suffered from isolation and the inability to socialize - and they probably prefer to think back to 2020 as a year that never happened… I, on the other hand, felt liberated by the lack of schedules, appointments and the pressure to be productive - that horrid word which is killing our souls, slowly but surely. Instead I embraced seclusion and enjoyed the time off which was forced upon us. Yes, I did miss performing in front of a live audience and traveling to beautiful places, but I found that staying home, with my piano, offered me a better view towards my inner self and a chance to experience the joy of a new discovery. That was for me the Cuban master Ernesto Lecuona…Two years later, the pandemic isn’t over and neither is the collective anxiety- but at least I can offer you this very personal recording, which I hope will take your mind away from current realities. This is music’s most phenomenal power- to bring joy when we really need it!...”

REVIEW:

The Year That Never Was in Romanian pianist Matei Varga’s title here is 2020; he writes of how he came to embrace the COVID-era isolation and explored the work of Ernesto Lecuona, a composer about whom he had previously known little. The output of Cuban composer Lecuona is sometimes categorized as salon music, and while it includes a few classical hits like the opening Andalucía (from the Suite española), much of his large production of some 600 works remains little explored. Here, the excerpts from the Danzas cubanas del siglo XIX and Danzas Afro-Cubanas will be worth the price of admission for Lecuona fans. He wants to expand the notion of salon music to include some of its predecessors, not only Chopin but going back as far as Domenico Scarlatti. That pandemic seems to have produced a boomlet in recordings of salon music, which is probably understandable, and Varga’s release is a novel take on the idea.

-- AllMuic.com (James Manheim)

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Sono Luminus
    • UPC/Barcode: 053479225825
    • Item Number: DSL-92258