Flamenco, Baroque, jazz and world music add up to a winning combination
The Strad Issue: January 2020
Description: Flamenco, Baroque, jazz and world music add up to a winning combination
Musicians: Yardani Torres Maiani, Armande Galloway (violin) Guillaume Leroy (viola) Natalie Forthomme (cello) Élisabeth Geiger (harpsichord) Raïlo Helmstetter (guitar) Anton Florenza Fabregat (double bass) Luis de la Carrasca (voice and claps) Nino Garcia (claps)
Works: Torres Maiani: Asteria: The Starlit Night
Catalogue Number: HARMONIA NOVA HMN 916116
The ten pieces of Andalusian violinist–composer Yardani Torres Maiani’s Starlit Night marry the influences of his flamenco heritage, classical training, Baroque and general globe-trotting. While on paper they’re classified with typical flamenco labels such as ‘Lamento gitano’, the actual sound world focuses more on its spirit. Everything is underpinned by the marriage of two plucked instruments at the core of their respective traditions: flamenco guitar and Baroque harpsichord. They are given scope for improvisatory freedom, then layered with different flamenco, tango and jazz rhythms, plus strings, which glide between folk, classical and jazz styles. Torres Maiani’s classical-background collaborators do all this as second nature – listen to the stylistic ease and tight ensemble playing in ‘Fandango popular’, which takes the traditional Fandango rhythm, palmas clapping and free-style Andalusian singing, then blends in jazz-style harmonies, rhythms and solos. Or there’s Torres Maiani’s glittering solo violin spot, ‘Yahaïouni’, which takes the Bach solo sonata concept of virtuosic polyphonic writing for a single melodic instrument and casts it in raga style with quartertones and sul ponticello and sul tasto effects.
If you are resolutely classical in your listening habits, this well-recorded album may not immediately be to your taste, but its artistically convincing feast of stylistic and timbral variety deserves a chance to work its magic.