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Adam Kent|Teclas de mi piano

Teclas de mi piano

Adam Kent

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Composer and pianist Tania León fled Cuba in 1967 and settled in New York. Despite playing a major role in the Black arts scene of the 1960s and '70s (she was a co-founder and music director of the Dance Theater of Harlem), her music is somewhat underappreciated, and this collection of her keyboard works by Adam Kent is quite valuable. The music stretches from León's student days in Cuba to the 2010s in going...gone, a kind of Stravinskian treatment of Stephen Sondheim's "Good Thing Going" (from the musical Merrily We Roll Along). The works are tied to specific experiences and acquaintances of León's; this includes the Sondheim piece, for she recalls buying cheap seats for Broadway musicals as a young woman. Mística was composed for pianist Ursula Oppens, who, in 2003, gave the first performance of León's music in Cuba for more than 40 years. It is a good place to start with her works, as Cuban rhythms force their way joyfully into modern tonality and a bit of Impressionist texture. The proportion of Cuban elements perhaps drops a bit in the later stages of León's career, but really, her voice is quite individual and consistent from the beginnings represented in a piece like Homenaje a Prokofiew. Kent's performances are crisp and authoritative, and producer Judith Sherman, working at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, garnered a Producer of the Year Grammy nomination in 2022 in part for this release. Essential for students of both Black and Latin American classical music, this album offers some unjustifiably forgotten music for any listener.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Teclas de mi piano

Adam Kent

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Homenatge (Tania Leon)

1
Homenatge
00:08:12

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Tumbao (Tania Leon)

2
Tumbao
00:02:24

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Momentum (Tania Leon)

3
Momentum
00:05:23

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Rondó a la Criolla (Tania Leon)

4
Rondó a la Criolla
00:03:10

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Ritual (Tania Leon)

5
Rituál
00:05:38

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Homenaje a Prokofiew (Tania Leon)

6
Homenaje a Prokofiew
00:01:07

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Mistica (Tania Leon)

7
Mística
00:07:30

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Prelude No. 1 - Sorpressa (Tania Leon)

8
Prelude No. 1 - Sorpressa
00:00:59

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Prelude No. 2 - Pecera (Tania Leon)

9
Prelude No. 2 - Pecera
00:01:35

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Going…Gone (Tania Leon)

10
Going…Gone
00:07:34

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Variación (Tania Leon)

11
Variación
00:09:42

Tania Leon, Composer - Adam Kent, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2022 Albany (P) 2022 Albany

Album review

Composer and pianist Tania León fled Cuba in 1967 and settled in New York. Despite playing a major role in the Black arts scene of the 1960s and '70s (she was a co-founder and music director of the Dance Theater of Harlem), her music is somewhat underappreciated, and this collection of her keyboard works by Adam Kent is quite valuable. The music stretches from León's student days in Cuba to the 2010s in going...gone, a kind of Stravinskian treatment of Stephen Sondheim's "Good Thing Going" (from the musical Merrily We Roll Along). The works are tied to specific experiences and acquaintances of León's; this includes the Sondheim piece, for she recalls buying cheap seats for Broadway musicals as a young woman. Mística was composed for pianist Ursula Oppens, who, in 2003, gave the first performance of León's music in Cuba for more than 40 years. It is a good place to start with her works, as Cuban rhythms force their way joyfully into modern tonality and a bit of Impressionist texture. The proportion of Cuban elements perhaps drops a bit in the later stages of León's career, but really, her voice is quite individual and consistent from the beginnings represented in a piece like Homenaje a Prokofiew. Kent's performances are crisp and authoritative, and producer Judith Sherman, working at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, garnered a Producer of the Year Grammy nomination in 2022 in part for this release. Essential for students of both Black and Latin American classical music, this album offers some unjustifiably forgotten music for any listener.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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