J. M. Quintana Cámara
2014 / J. M. Quintana Cámara
Review by Kathy Parsons
Timeless is the follow-up to J.M. Quintana Cámara’s 2012 release, Feelinks, which was nominated for Best Solo Piano Album of the Year by SoloPiano.com in the category of “Classical/Modern Classical.” Quintana Cámara is a very versatile composer who also writes music for soundtracks, documentaries, and television commercials. Born in Spain in 1984 and conservatory-trained from the age of nine, Quintana Cámara started composing music at the age of twelve. With advanced degrees in music (piano) and computer science, Quintana Cámara also teaches piano and music theory. His music is melodic, passionate, elegant, and sometimes quite energetic, reflecting life experiences in a very personal way. Classical influences with contemporary sensibilities gives the music a genre-crossing appeal that makes it difficult to classify (I really like that!). Timeless is mostly solo piano, but there are other instruments included in some of the compositions. Two of the thirteen pieces are presented in two different versions. Hopefully this excellent and very colorful music will bring Quintana Cámara the more international following that he deserves.
Timeless begins with “The Challenge.” Starting with a slow, mysterious piano introduction, strongly rhythmic percussion and orchestration enter and send the piece soaring. Passionate and very dramatic, we can immediately hear why Quintana Cámara is working in film soundtracks. “Fighting Against the Unknown” is fully orchestrated behind the piano. With a melancholy tone, the piece is sometimes light and determined, and other times burdened and a bit lost - beautiful and very expressive. “Sleep Paralysis” feels very much like a night of tossing and turning - agitated and frustrated, on the verge of falling asleep, but not quite there. It is fascinating how Quintana Cámara expresses the quiet stillness as well as the turbulence of a restless night. A great piece! “Wonders of Earth” is an enchanting piece that seems to soar above the earth, awed by the beauty and drama below. “Stop Hunger!” comes from the soundtrack to the documentary The Third Rider, about hunger and malnutrition on our planet. Very dark and powerful, I love this one! The vibrant rhythms give the piece a sense of urgency while the slower sections reinforce the peril of the world and its inhabitants. A wonderful solo piano version of “Stop Hunger!” comes later in the album. “Welcome Back” is a warm and tender piano solo that overflows with love - another favorite. “Frenetic World” again picks up the pace with a spinning and twirling piano spurred on by agitated strings. “The Magic of Christmas” is a sweet piano solo composed in a very classical style, viewing Christmas through the eyes of a child. “Successful Challenge” is a second version of the opening “The Challenge” that brings this album to an upbeat and triumphant close.
JM Quintana Cámara is on his way to becoming a major player in the contemporary classical music scene. Timeless is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Highly recommended!
June 1, 2014