Andree-Ann Deschenes – Cervantes, Lecuona & Nazareth

As the album starts off with ‘Invitacion’, there is a fragility to Deschenes’ playing that makes the first piece so inviting for the listener.

aad-bw-1The music moves back and forth between a seriousness and a sense of fun and playfulness, and sets things off to a good start by giving a strong idea of what to expect next. ‘Los Tres Golpes’ indeed does continue in a similar vein, the notes of the melody at times seeming to dance like playful fairies. It’s clear that Deschenes’ strength is in being able to create such a fine balance between lightness and gravity. ‘Los Delirios De Rosita’ is one of the shortest tracks on the album, but manages to pack in a lot, and creates the feel of silent movie soundtracks. The album’s actual shortest track is the following, ‘Los Munecos’, coming in at a little over the one minute mark. It’s a brave and bold piece, with more weight to it than some of the previous works, and this time there is some playful use of percussive tapping that brings a very human feel to the music. Deschenes’ music continues to unveil itself throughout the album’s duration, always surprising but never unpleasantly. Rather, the constant move between the confident hammering of the ivories and the delicate tinkling that punctuates these compositions is much like the joy found in getting to know a newly made friend or lover. We are led in one direction, allowed to become comfortable and familiar, before suddenly and surprisingly taken round a corner to be shown something new. It always works though, it is never jarring, but instead means the listener is treated to a series of pleasant shocks, like discovering someone you know well has a secret tattoo that you never knew about. ‘La Comparsa’ sets out in a relatively sedate manner, with a lilt to it that provides a sense of momentum that builds ever so gradually, before the music begins to sparkle and unfurl like a flower in the sun, reaching up, up, up to the skies. ‘Andalucia’ takes motifs that feel familiar and repackages them in Deschenes’ own unique style – you can almost picture┬áthe pianist moving and swaying with the music, it’s so visceral and expressive. ‘Gitanerias’ moves back in the silent movie soundtrack style, this time sounding like the theme for a villain. There is a darkness to the tone that doesn’t appear so much on the album, and here it is guiven free reign to build and create a true sense of gravity. It should come as no surprise that Deschenes still manages to add some sparkle and lightness despite the darker feel. Coming towards its close, the final tracks deliver a beautiful conclusion – ‘Eponina’ with its yearning, lingering notes, and ‘Odeon’, the final track that manages to just about sum up everything that has been explored and discovered throughout the album. It’s a final reminder of the expressive and creative compositions that have passed, and leaves the listener inspired to consider their own creativity and what they might go on to make that might be shared with the world.