Bulgarian pianist Tania Stavreva is not to be pigeonholed.

In her CD, Rhythmic Movement available directly from her at http://www.taniastavreva.com the gifted young artist plays an eclectically mixed sampling of her own compositions in three of the tracks, gives over six tracks to the music of the Argentine Alberto Ginastera that features dances culled from his ballet, Estancia and from his Piano Sonata, No. 1, and further occupies the remaining tracks with compositions by her compatriots Pancho and Alexander Vladigerov, by the Russian Nikolai Kapustin and by the American Mason Bates.

The Vladigerovs – father Pancho and son Alexander – along with Kapustin and Bates – are all 20th and 21st century composers that have at different times straddled the worlds of folk music, music for the theatre, jazz, blues and concert music. So has Stavreva, a formidable musician who unfailingly negotiates the breakneck tempi of her composition Rhythmic Movement, later elicits from her instrument the eerie beyond-the-keyboard sounds of her brooding The Dark Side of the Sun, finds inspiration along the way in the music of her homeland, and passionately injects into her performances of all of the music in this intriguing album a cool contemporary sensibility, a knowing musicality, and an impressive pianistic technique.

Straveva subtly caresses the melancholy strains of Ginastera’s Danza del Viejo Boyero, lightly bounces off the keyboard to the bee-bop gestures of Mason Bates’ White Lies for Lomax, and finally dives-in heart and soul and sinews into the demanding eleven-minute set of variations on the Bulgarian song Dilbero Dilbero, by Alexander Vladigerov.

The production by Ron Saint Germain, the nice liner notes, and the uncluttered engineering of this engaging CD, along with its fascinating sampling of mostly unfamiliar music and Stravreva’s powerful playing, make it a top contender for a place in the library of any collector interested in music off the beaten path.

Rafael de Acha