In 2001, after many years of no contact, Eduardo and I met by chance in Barcelona. On our subsequent meetings, Eduardo introduced me to much of his music, which was unknown to me at that time.
From then on, I gradually incorporated his compositions into my concerts. The enthusiasm with which his music was received in many different countries, encouraged me to take on the challenge of recording an album dedicated exclusively to his works.
In the Summer of 2004, I asked Eduardo: Could you write a “conga” for the guitar? He answered “hmmm…, I don’t know, let me see what I can do.” At Christmas time of that year, I received the greatest of gifts — Angels in The Street (Angeles en La Calle).
I would like to thank Eduardo for writing music for me, and especially, for revealing the secrets of his music during our long sessions of work that preceded the recording of this CD.
I also want to thank Dean for having made Eduardo's and my dreams a reality.
I dedicate this work to my mother, Oremia, and Guantanamo, my city of birth.
Madrid - March, 2006
EDUARDO MARTIN'S TEXT - FROM THE LINER NOTES
The dream of every composer is to hear his or her work performed and interpreted well, by professionals with sufficient technique, capable of making music with the logic and understanding required.
The artist is always accompanied by a muse. Even when he or she interprets the work of another, this creative spirit gives the music life and energy so the listener not only enjoys it, but understands it as well. A musical score needs the appearance of this spirit to awaken it because the notes are asleep on paper and only become music when a true artist interprets it with all the magic needed.
Iliana Matos is a true artist, gifted with magnificent technique. She possesses a clear and brilliant tone—while intimate and powerful—always used expressively. Her good sense of rhythm permits her to undertake these works with precision when needed, and at the same time with all the grace and flexibility that each moment of the music requires.
As the composer, I feel very fortunate to listen to this album. I feel that in Iliana’s hands, my pieces reach a higher level. The authenticity of her interpretations energizes, renews, and recreates them. The music is enriched, not devaluated.
De la Rumba Son…
De la Rumba Son is inspired by a variation of the Cuban rumba called guaguancó. Nevertheless, the work is a son. The rumba and son draw strength from their rhythmic basses in very similar ways that some soneros use in their accompaniments. I thought about the “clave del guaguancó” while composing this difficult piece which tests the musical capability and technique of the guitarist. It was commissioned by Gerard Verba for the 2003 4th Concours International de Guitare Ville d’Antony.
Preludio, Son y Allegro…
Preludio, Son y Allegro has two major influences: on one hand, Cuban popular music and on the other, the work of Bach, whose influence has had a substantial presence in many of my compositions. Specifically, in this work I felt inspired listening to Preludio, Fuga y Allegro for lute, (BWV 998), by this brilliant composer. I dedicated it to a talented popular musician, known as “Guajiro” Miranda.
Tropical Diversions is a series of three pieces that integrate characteristic elements of the son, the bolero, the danzón, and the chachachá. These variations of Cuban music offer an enormous rhythmic wealth. Nourished by these resources, a composer has a lot of very rich elements which allow his imagination and creativity to flow freely.
Inevitable, Chacumbele y Lobisón…
I think that Inevitable, Chacumbele and Lobisón, reflect the optimism and love of life always present in my great friend “Nico” Rojas, to whom they are dedicated with all my affection and respect.
Ángeles en La Calle…
I have enjoyed unexpected true art, listening to musicians of different backgrounds, styles and cultures, performing in the streets in many parts of the world. Artists who give their heart and soul in every performance, without rigid formalities, nor compromises for whomever is listening—true ‘Angels’ who make their living this way daily, while at the same time, masterfully embellishing life. Inspired by them, I wrote Angels in The Street.
This conga was written for Iliana for this recording. In it, the basses of the guitar assume the role of the bass drum, defining the rhythm. The role of the cowbell, so recurrent in the conga, has been resolved with the use of arpeggios. The thematic development of the work happens over these rhythmic basses. With true artistry, Iliana brings these combinations to life.
En Cinco Líneas…
In Five Lines is a suite I composed for five very dear friends—exceptional people that life always places in our path, and only occasionally do we have the enlightenment that enables us to really get to know them.
Announcement is the first of this series. I wrote it for Iliana Matos with complete freedom and great happiness, knowing that she would be able to handle any musical or technical challenge without difficulties. The rhythms and melodic turns transport us quickly to South America, not to a single country of this extensive region, but more to a rich environment of harmonious crossbreeding.
Enlightened is a piece with Cuban flavor. Syncopated characteristics prevail in this “son.” The structure is very simple as two parts are repeated as in the majority of the dances of any baroque suite or folk piece that we have heard. I composed it for my great friend José Ignacio López—always touched by inspiration—hence its title.
Profecía del Agua y El Viento…
Prophecy of The Water and The Wind, related to the blues, is somewhat meditative in spite of its free-style structure. In the first part, the rigorous pulse allows the silent spaces to attain their true expression. The tone is most intense in the measure that starts the piece. I dedicated it to Francisco Gamallo, a special friend who never ceases to challenge my will and stimulate my musical thoughts.
The Absence is a romantic song which is very appropriate for the musical sensibility of Rose Matos, for whom it was composed. It reflects certain harmonic and melodic turns of the bolero, although its pulse is much more flexible.
Ilusión y Verdad…
Illusion and Truth is related to Afro-Cuban rhythms, fundamentally close to some sounds of batá drums. A touch of “rock” atmosphere is always present. Dedicated to Jorge Luís Zamora, it could not be less than happy and alive in character.
Canciónes del Calendario…
Songs of The Calendar is a suite inspired by the months of the year. Each one of these twelve pieces has its own character and spirit. Nevertheless, there are similarities among them: the melodic prevalence, the harmonic turns that reaffirm the tonal direction, and the obvious neoromantic impressions, suspended in a world of sound, enriched by different styles. The suite is dedicated to my children Galy and Darío.
Son del Barrio…
Son del Barrio, dedicated to Luís Zumbado, is a typical son—traditional with its coros, montuno y solos, like the ones played by any Cuban sonero ensemble. The first part is a lot more melodic in traditional instrumental fashion. It then develops variations separated by a first and second theme. It finishes with a characteristic ‘son montuno’.
Para Soñar Contigo…
To Dream with You is a lullaby that I wrote at the end of 2004, when Catalina D’Onia was about to come into the world. I thought of it as gift for this little girl that a family friend was expecting. I was inspired by the parents and grandparents, though above all, I believe it was our combined emotions, experienced when we learned that she was soon to arrive. It is a simple piece that could easily be sung accompanied by a guitar, but here we present it in a solo instrumental version.
Barrio - neighborhood
Batá - a type of African drum
Bolero - a Spanish dance
Chachachá - a popular Latin American dance similar to the mambo
Clave del guaguancó - the rhythm of this Cuban rumba
Conga - a popular Cuban dance of African origin
Coros - choruses
Danzón - a popular Cuban dance derived from the habañera
Montuno - the rhythmic, dancing coda of
Cuban country songs
Rumba - a Cuban dance
Son - a popular Cuban dance
Sonero - a musician who plays “son” music
Recorded & Produced by Dean Kamei in San Francisco, California
- Additional Information
Maker / Manufacturer MATOS, ILIANA Availability N/A Track 1 De La Rumba Son Track 2 Preludio Track 3 Son Track 4 Allegro Track 5 Inevitable Track 6 Chacumbele Track 7 Lobison Track 8 Angeles en La Calle Track 9 Anunciacion Track 10 Iluminado Track 11 ProfecÃa del Agua y El Viento Track 12 La Ausencia Track 13 Ilusion y Verdad Track 14 Enero Track 15 Febrero Track 16 Marzo Track 17 Abril Track 18 Mayo Track 19 Junio Track 20 Julio Track 21 Agosto Track 22 Septiembre Track 23 Octubre Track 24 Noviembre Track 25 Diciembre Track 26 Son del Barrio Track 27 Para Soar Contigo
"If you are looking for a thrilling all-Cuban excursion on the guitar, look no further. Cuban guitarist Iliana Matos pays tribute to her fellow countryman, composer Eudardo Martin, on a match-made-in-heaven recording that is about as perfect as guitar records get. It is gorgeous stuff, and these vibrant performances bring an energy and rhythmic excitement to every note.
Martin may be musically conservative, but he is probably the new king of melody on guitar, able to write lyrically in a distinguished and memorable way that can appease both popular and high art camps.
The quality of the recording matches the repertoire and performances...the humanity of the music and player is matched perfectly by a humanity in the sound technology. As for Matos, she simply, radiantly shines, a virtuoso in service to the music. The result is a persuasive calling card for both Martin and herself. Needless to say, this sleeper of a disc should attract quite a following in the guitar world. Even non-guitar lovers will find immense delights." - Ellis, American Record Guide
"Really, what can one say about a recording as good as this? Thorughout the 64 minutes of music on this disc there are rhythmic complexities which boggle the mind, stunning harmonies and wonderfully crafted melodies. In Iliana Matos, Martin has the perfect interpreter for his work. Her technical abilities are second to none and she possesses a truly beautiful tone when required. She shows an instinctive insight into this music and gets to the heart of every piece with impeccable phrasing. Her name deserves to go down in guitar history as one of the great players of our time. Highly recommended." - Steve Marsh, Classical Guitar Magazine
"...compositions inspired by Cuban popular music, from the pen of a Cuban composer and played by a Cuban guitarist synergistically weave magic. Much of the music would be eminently suited to the sound track of a quality movie, and the last item, Para Sonar Contigo (26), reminds one of the Villa-Lobos composition, Sentimental Melody, written for the film Green Mansions. Iliana Matos exhibits high musicality, a very refined technique, and a strong sense of rhythm. It is with reluctance that I describe the work of a current generation guitarist as magnificent because it leaves little latitude for the future but on this occasion there is no other synonym that is more appropriate. If circumstances are kind to Iliana Matos, she has sufficient of all credentials necessary to take her place in the annals of guitar as one of its truly gifted and outstanding exponents." - Zane Turner, musicweb-international.com
"Iliana Matos has succeeded with 'Angels in the Street' to deliver a CD which is brilliant with the exceptional well chosen repertoire and her unique and modern approach to classical guitar music. Truly a masterwork." - Henk te Veldhuis, Bridge Guitar Reviews
"The only limiting factor for a piece such as 'Angels?' - to find a performer who possesses the virtuosity able to handle the technical act of precisely lifting the notes from daunting page to fretboard, and to do it with a panache and sensitivity which disguises the difficulty as only subliminal. Such an artist is Iliana Matos. And though Matos is a dark horse, it's impossible while listening to 'Angels?' to believe that her name will not someday ring the same peal of recognition as does Bream and Williams. GSP Recordings seems to have a talent for ferreting out bright new classical guitar talent, and they've succeeded once more by making this collaboration between Eduardo Martin and Iliana Matos possible and accessible." - Alan Fark, Minor7th.com
"This is another beautiful album from GSP. Her playing is exquisite, and I love Eduardo's compositions. Congratulations!" - Randy Morse, KZUM 89.3 FM
"A real jewel. 'Angels in the Street', the composition from which the CD is titled, is simply amazing." - El Tono de la Voz, Cuba
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