ANDRÉS ALÉN (b.1950): Theme and Variations on a Theme by Silvio Rodriguez, Unison, 6 Preludes, Danzón “Legrand”, Theme and Variations on a Theme by Pablo Milanés.
Catalogue Number: 08U057
Reference: DE 3535
Description: Cuban composer Alén writes in a completely accessible tonal idiom in which classical styles are heavily inflected by the rhythms and harmonies of Cuban music, especially Afro-Cuban jazz. The two sets of Theme and Variations, both based on melodies by Cuban composers, exemplify this, with the Rodriguez variations in particular examining the charming song in various styles both traditionally Cuban and in movements marked prelude, étude, fughetta, nocturne and toccatina. The Milanés variations are a good deal more pianistically demanding, producing a highly effective concert piece with more of the concert hall and less of the jazz lounge about it than the other works here. Unison is the real 'odd piece out'; a piano transcription of a movement from Alén's Saxophone Quartet, it is a fast-running perpetuum mobile lasting all of a minute. The Preludes, which were not composed as a set but as discrete pieces which can be played in any combination and any order, are brief, characterful studies in typical syncopated Cuban rhythms and the sonorities and harmonies of Afro-Cuban jazz bands. William Villaverde (piano).