LÓPEZ Perú negro. Synesthésie
Peru may not be noted for a plethora of composers working in the Western classical tradition but Jimmy López (b1978) seems sure to make his mark on the contemporary scene. Having studied in both Finland and the United States might well have given his music an added range and sophistication, yet an indigenous aura seems never far away in Perú negro (2012), with its productive interplay of motivic rigour and emotional intensity taken from traditional Afro-Peruvian songs. The evolution on from América salvaje (2006) is instructive, this latter piece having an overtly modernist yet never impersonal demeanour whose recourse to the Andean pututu (a type of conch) as a means of heightening expressive contrasts adds to the music’s overall pungency.
In between these two works, Synesthésie (2011) unfolds a sequence of five miniatures (albeit in duration only) whose evoking of the five senses is achieved with a deftness and impetus redolent of Dutilleux. Inspired by the majestic flight of the Andean condor, Lord of the Air (2012) is a cello concerto of unusually cunning design – its ominous opening movement a prelude to the incisive scherzo, succeeded by a slow movement whose impassive eloquence amply evokes the ‘Soaring the Heights’ of its title, before the finale makes terse reference to earlier ideas in a ‘Homecoming’ of tensile resolve. Committed playing by Jesús Castro-Balbi, and unarguably idiomatic response from the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under the watchful guidance of Miguel Harth-Bedoya. Neither the sound quality or booklet-notes leave anything to be desired, resulting in a disc which seems sure to raise López’s profile – and deservedly so.