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Review | LA Times: Broadstage

“…HER TOUCH IS MAGICAL” - Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times ”With a cool determination, a tone full of glowing color and a seemingly effortless technique, Martinez got Mazzoli’s miniature to glow darkly. A Chopin mazurka floated on air out of shimmering chords in Shaw’s score, while Snider’s quiet tolling of bells was so majestic that it almost seemed like electronic music. Melody in all three of these pieces needs to be assembled a note at a time. Martinez did so by providing such substance to each individual note that she gave the impression of capturing it from the air, like a flying insect, and attaching it the piano so that it could join the next one.

Venezuelan-American pianist Gabriela Martinez in her solo recital at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage Saturday Night. (Carolyn DiLoreto / BroadStage)

The stunner was “Veil” by Viet Cuong, a Vietnamese American composer from L.A. who is receiving considerable attention of late (the Pacific Symphony just opened its new season with his percussion concerto, “Re(new)al”). “Veil” is about just one note, a G sharp that tolls throughout and keeps changing based on how it is hit, how the strings are damped (Martinez played inside the piano and out) and the harmonic context it is put in.

“Veil” wasn’t written for Martinez, but it sounded like it must have been, on some level. Her touch is magical. She lifts the veil and reveals, in G sharp, a world in sound, pure to the point of having no nationalities and all nationalities. It opened the ears to all.

A magnificent performance of Villa-Lobos’ seductive “Bachianas Brasileiras” followed. This 20th century Brazilian channeling of Bach flowed naturally from Cuong’s G sharps, leaving that impression that, while the scenery differs, the Amazon, Rhine and Mekong Delta are all rivers, and water everywhere is nourishing.

Full review can be found HERE


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