Mario Lopez Santos
2008 / Several Records, SL
Review by Kathy Parsons
1973 is the second solo piano release from Spanish pianist/composer Mario Lopez Santos. Classically-trained from the age of nine years, Santos brings a fresh voice to the contemporary piano scene. Not surprisingly, Santos’ music is very classically-influenced, but the personal nature of the music keeps it in the present. The fifteen pieces range from minimalistic to complex and dramatic. The liner notes and song titles are written in Spanish, and I don’t have a command of that language, but music is indeed a universal language. No matter what the literal meanings of the titles are, this is incredible music to explore and savor!
The opening track is “Ilusiones.” Buoyant and upbeat, this very expressive piece goes from big and bold to quiet and delicate. “Todo Puede Cambiar” is much darker and very passionate, making full use of the wonderful tonal range of an exceptional piano. The varied, interwoven themes seem to tell a compelling story - a great piece! “El piano, el violin y la guitarra” is easy to translate! Lively and light-hearted, the piece seems to dance all over the piano, demonstrating what an amazing pianist Santos is. The title track has a gorgeous melody and a wonderful flow. 1973 was the year of the composer’s birth, so I assume that this is an autobiographical piece - a favorite! “Tus Planetas Y Tu” is a simple piece that overflows with feeling while casting a spell - also a favorite! “Seduccion” is fascinating. Alternating between strong/lively and fragile/delicate, this is quite a tour de force! “Camino de Aranda” begins with a couple of slides on the piano strings followed by a few notes in the deep bass and a plucked melody - a great effect! The second part of the piece is dark and deeply emotional - possibly influenced by Erik Satie. As the piece evolves, the tempo quickens and it becomes much livelier and more complex - I love this one! “Suite Naufragos” is made up of six short pieces. As far as I can tell, “Naugragos” means “stranded,” so these are not happy. They are, however, extraordinarily beautiful and powerful.
Mario Lopez Santos is quite a find, and I have to thank Alejandro Clavijo for linking us up! 1973 is available from cdbaby.com and amazon.com. Very highly recommended!
June 25, 2009