Beatriz Boizán, Classical Piano with Cuban Pasión

Beatriz Boizán, Classical Piano with Cuban Pasión. August 16, 2012, Aeolian Hall

You don’t have to leave home to experience the pleasures of a Caribbean cruise. Latin love, moonlight mood of dance, passionate rhythms, came to London Tuesday night, delivered by a young pianist with insight into the music of her heritage. Beatriz Boizán, born in Cuba and now a resident in Canada, is building a reputation as a special interpreter of the Hispanic musical tradition. Her performance of the pieces that appeared on her debut recording Pasión (Galano Records, September 2010) reinforced the sympathetic relationship Ms. Boizán enjoys with the language of Iberia and her children, the islands and lands of the New World.

The clean lines of Ms. Boizán’s playing sparkle with vitality; her joie de vivre propels her forward. The attributes of personality influence her performing style. But more to the point, a serious artistic vision guides the whole. Conversation with Ms. Boizán reveals the depth of her knowledge of the thread of history. There is authenticity in her approach to the sonatas of Antonio Soler (1729-1783), in which she captures the filigreed elegance of late Baroque/early Classical repertoire. No doubt Ms. Boizán would cite the influence of the great pianist Alicia de la Rocha on her highly evolved grasp of various genres, including the works of later composers such as Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909), where she was able to explore the color and atmosphere of music steeped in regional flavors.

As for the contributions from our hemisphere, the compositions by Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963), Ignacio Cervantes (1847-1905), Manuel María Ponce (1882-1948), and Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983), provided Beatriz Boizàn a grand field for demonstrating her technical and emotional capacities. The Afro-Cuban intensity in many of the Lecuona selections were a window on the ethnically mixed and stimulating elements of the island’s culture. Cervantes, also Cuban, drew on another aspect of the island’s style, namely, the love of melody, perhaps influenced by ocean breezes. The Estudios by Ponce evoked cathedrals and village squares, the stuff of empires, and also the fabric of folklore. Ginastera, whose compositions push pianists into rarefied zones of cerebral considerations, technical and artistic complexity, offered Ms. Boizán the greatest challenge of the evening. She rose to it, drawing the audience into an exotic world, one we will hope to visit again with her. The encore, Lecuona’s Malaguena, brought the evening to a spirited conclusion.

(Out of 4)

Renée Silberman is an essayist on topics of musical interest who has authored program notes for performances in concert halls in Canada and the U.S. She is the founder of the Serenata Music Series.

Talbot Centre