In his new and aptly-titled album, Renacimiento (Renaissance) Yalil Guerra, the Cuban-born composer, now residing and working in Southern California allows us to listen to another aspect of his multifaceted talent in a collection of chamber music works, ranging from several inventively charming ensemble pieces for woodwinds to an extended ten-minute homage on the piano to Guerra’s mentor and friend: the Cuban master composer Aurelio de la Vega.
In his Homenaje a Aurelio de la Vega, Yalil Guerra achieves an improbable but extraordinary goal of combining atonal asperities with a harmonic, melodic and rhythmic language redolent of the kind of Cuban salon music that Ernesto Lecuona and, before him, Ignacio Cervantes wrote.
The composition is structured as a series of miniatures in different tempi and moods, much like the brief piano pieces of Anton Webern. The overall effect is compelling and often enticingly melodic even within the strictures of atonality, as is the Toccata for piano that follows.
La magia de tus ojos (The magic of your eyes) shows Guerra’s deeply Romantic vein, writing idiomatically for solo violin.
Afrodita is a brief rhapsody composed in a lush harmonic language for string orchestra, with the young composer in full command of the intricacies of orchestration.
Al Partir (At farewell) is also a piece for string orchestra, where the composer achieves a hypnotic effect by having the violins play with little or no vibrato while the cellos anchor the single movement quietly in the background. The music ebbs and flows and quietly vanishes at the end.
With this new album, available on Spotify and iTunes, Yalil Guerra reveals to the listener a yet new facet of his protean gifts.
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.c