Bach & Beyond

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Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Gabriela Montero made quite a splash with her debut album for EMI in 2005 -- less for the main course of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Chopin than for a bonus disc of ingenious improvisations that showed off a talent quite foreign to most classical musicians. Now the Venezuelan pianist has returned with a new recital and a new hairstyle that makes her a dead ringer for Jane Fonda in Klute, and as fans of that earlier bonus disc will be glad to hear, the improvisations on Bach and Beyond have been moved front and center. Since she's taking her lead from a single composer this time, the album has a greater sense of focus, yet her approaches to the original Bach compositions ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Gabriela Montero made quite a splash with her debut album for EMI in 2005 -- less for the main course of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Chopin than for a bonus disc of ingenious improvisations that showed off a talent quite foreign to most classical musicians. Now the Venezuelan pianist has returned with a new recital and a new hairstyle that makes her a dead ringer for Jane Fonda in Klute, and as fans of that earlier bonus disc will be glad to hear, the improvisations on Bach and Beyond have been moved front and center. Since she's taking her lead from a single composer this time, the album has a greater sense of focus, yet her approaches to the original Bach compositions are still remarkably varied. On a few tracks, like her "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" improvisation, the original is palpably present both at the outset and as an underlying guide, but in general, her imagination runs even more freely than in the past. For the "Air in G" better known as the "Air on the G String" Bach's melody is almost wholly absorbed into the Latin rhythms that Montero surrounds it with, while the "Aria" from Bach's Goldberg Variations -- which Montero also had a crack at on her previous recital -- takes a detour through Debussy before settling into an unexpectedly spiky march. At her best -- whether elaborating the obsessive rhythms of the Allegro from the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 or meditating peacefully on the Adagio from the Violin Concerto No. 2 -- Montero's spontaneous art once again achieves a truly rewarding degree of originality.
Time Out New York - Brian Wise
Montero recovers this lost art while adding her own funky sensibility.
Toronto Star - John Terauds
A rich, masterful effort that brings together familiar musical themes by J.S. Bach with improvisations that straddle the classical and jazz worlds.

A rich, masterful effort that brings together familiar musical themes by J.S. Bach with improvisations that straddle the classical and jazz worlds.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2006
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • UPC: 094636464725
  • Catalog Number: 64647

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Gabriela Montero Primary Artist
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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Captivating "Clazzical" Montero: Argerich's Jazzy Protege

    EMI Classics serves up a delightful course in this celebrated recording. The buyer should note that Montero is listed as a classical musician instead of a jazz pianist, which is quite interesting. It is noteworthy that another jazz musician Keith Jarrett had crossed over to classical; his Handel keyboard suites being a noteworthy example.
    Montero had received public acclaim by playing at the President's inauguration with the likes of Izhtak Perlman and Yo-yo Ma. Montero projects this same type of public persona that grabs the listener's attention. Her playing is quite similar to the feline projection she displays on the album cover. Montero moves from note to note with catlike precision, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes classical, and yet at other times jazzy. The listener doesn't quite know what to expect, so that eventually he/she just submits to the whole thing and allows Montero to just "purr" herself away to the end. This is music to entertain; and entertain it does.
    It should be noted that Montero's mentor, Martha Argerich has recorded a collection of chamber pieces for the piano. Nonetheless, she has never ventured into this type of jazz repertoire before. This is truly beyond anything that has preceded it. A bravura performance, and well recorded in the Abbey Road in London. Highly recommended, perhaps with Simone Dinnerstein on the Goldberg Variations and Keith Jarrett with Handel's keyboard suites.

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