“South American Belle” A portrait of Clara Rodriguez by Bill Newman

Image“This whole business of placing a concert pianist in a special category may spell taboo to piano buffs, but the thoroughly vivacious Venezuelan-born Clara Rodriguez has several unusual slants to her artistry. And a growing number of appetizing programmes, all containing intriguing titles to whet people’s appetites and dissuade them from returning home afterwards…When I first heard her play it was at the Purcell Room of London’s South Bank…the challenge was there to create unusual colour contrasts between the usual classical fare of Liszt, in his famous B minor Sonata, and some exotic output of Moises Moleiro and Federico Ruiz, both represented on Nimbus CDs. Gorgeously dressed to match the occasion, Rodriguez’s sensuous playing did everything to vitalize the constant admiration of senior music critic G. Crankshaw, and brought forth much praise from my fond colleague, Phyllis Sellick.

The Liszt on this occasion was persuasively different to artists unleashing tonal forces, their portentous architectural exaggerations pummelling the listener’s senses into a state of nullified submission. It was reflective and tender, each new subject and harmonic strand treated with natural respect, and a visionary understanding of their correct place within the whole. One didn’t require to express plaudits following it, but just to give thanks for revealing the music’s inner message…”

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