The Year That Never Was

Matei Varga

16,9929,99
Clear
Original Recording Format: DXD
Learn about choosing Quality and Channels

The Year That Never Was by pianist Matei Varga began as “The Lecuona Project“, a homage to Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s piano music at the 125th anniversary of his birth. Lecuona has been called “The Cuban Gerswhin” as the music of George Gershwin was one of his major influences. It also includes music composed by Frederic Chopin, Domenico Scarlatti, George Gershwin, Mily Balakirev, Ludwig van Beethoven, & Andrei Tudor.

The album was renamed The Year That Never Was and after several delays in recording, the album was completed and is now available on the Sono Luminus label. It is exclusively available in Stereo DSD 512, Stereo DSD 256 and Stereo DXD from NativeDSD.Com

To help cover the cost of recording and releasing the album, pianist Matei Varga turned to the Kickstarter crowdfunding website. Listeners responded to his request with over $3,700 in contributions to bring the album to life.

Varga tells us “The year 2020 was complicated indeed. The world was put on hold and we hardly remember what we did in February, or May, or September… Many suffered from isolation and the inability to socialize – and they probably prefer to think back to 2020 as a year that never happened… I, on the other hand, felt liberated by the lack of schedules, appointments and the pressure to be productive – that horrid word which is killing our souls, slowly but surely. Instead I embraced seclusion and enjoyed the time off which was forced upon us. Yes, I did miss performing in front of a live audience and traveling to beautiful places, but I found that staying home, with my piano, offered me a better view towards my inner self and a chance to experience the joy of a new discovery. That was for me the Cuban master Ernesto Lecuona.

In spite of a popular career as pianist and composer, Lecuona is considered to this day a less “serious” musician and is rarely given credit for his extraordinary talent. Much like Chopin, Lecuona was a “salon virtuoso” who excelled in the short form and who carried throughout his life a strong musical link to his native country. He elevated Cuban music to a refined, almost “classical” status, and was often dubbed the “Chopin of the Tropics” and the “Cuban Gershwin”…

Special Thanks to my Kickstarter backers, whose help was essential in making this project come alive. They are, in alphabetical order: Margarita Anthoine, Anca Bereanu, Judith Brown Meyers and Michael Meyers, Elena Buruiana, Vanessa and Maiquel Carrasco, Raluca Cimpoiasu, Cristian Fatu, Ioan Filip, Cathy Gibbs, Raluca Gold, Gregory Harrington, Suejin Jung, Erica Lubetkin, Mary Rose Main, Laura Metcalf, Judy and Marv Nierenberg, Gabriela Olaru, Diana Rotaru, Sofia Serrano, Nina Tichman, Robert and Patti Titley, Andreia Toma.

Two years later, the pandemic isn’t over and neither is the collective anxiety – but at least I can offer you this very personal recording, which I hope will take your mind away from the current realities. This is music’s most phenomenal power – to bring joy when we really need it!…”

The Year That Never Was is a DSD Exclusive, Not Available on SACD release.

Matei Varga – Piano

Tracklist

1.
Suite española: No. 2, Andaluza
02:29
2.
3 Ecossaises, Op. 72 No. 3, B. 12: No. 1 in D Major
00:58
3.
3 Ecossaises, Op. 72 No. 3, B. 12: No. 2 in G Major
00:51
4.
3 Ecossaises, Op. 72 No. 3, B. 12: No. 3 in D-Flat Major
01:51
5.
"I Got Rhythm (From ""Girl Crazy"") [Arr. for Piano]"
01:18
6.
Für Elise, WoO 59
02:29
7.
Danzas cubanas al estilo del siglo XIX (Excerpts): No. 8, La cardenense
01:23
8.
Danzas cubanas al estilo del siglo XIX (Excerpts): No. 6, Arabesque
01:08
9.
Danzas cubanas al estilo del siglo XIX (Excerpts): No. 5, La mulata
00:50
10.
Danzas cubanas al estilo del siglo XIX (Excerpts): No. 9, Al fin te vi
00:52
11.
Danzas cubanas al estilo del siglo XIX (Excerpts): No. 10, Minstrels
01:49
12.
Impromptu No. 3 in G-Flat Major, Op. 51, B. 149
04:39
13.
Zambra gitana (Arr. T. Tirino for Piano)
02:49
14.
Keyboard Sonata in E Major, Kk. 380
02:27
15.
Keyboard Sonata in E Major, Kk. 135
02:05
16.
Rondo alla Crazy
03:16
17.
Spanish Melody
03:24
18.
Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66, B. 87
05:25
19.
Danzas afro-cubanas: No. 5, Danza lucumi
02:19
20.
"Étude in C Minor, Op. 10 No. 12, B. 67 ""Revolutionary"""
02:53
21.
"The Man I Love (From ""Strike Up the Band"") [Arr. for Piano]"
02:04
22.
Impromptu No. 1 in A-Flat Major, Op. 29, B. 110
04:08
23.
Yo te quiero siempre, cancio?n (Arr. T. Tirino for Piano)
02:03
24.
Vals azul (From “Lola Cruz”) [Arr. M. Van Brink for Piano]
02:44

Total time: 00:56:14

Additional information

Label

SKU

DSL92258

Qualities

, , , , , ,

Channels

Artists

Composers

, , , , , ,

Genres

,

Analog to Digital Converter

Hapi, Merging Technologies at DXD (24 bit, 352.8kHz)

Executive Producer

Collin J. Rae

Funding

Special Thanks to my Kickstarter backers, whose help was essential in making this project come alive. They are, in alphabetical order: Margarita Anthoine, Anca Bereanu, Judith Brown Meyers and Michael Meyers, Elena Buruiana, Vanessa and Maiquel Carrasco, Raluca Cimpoiasu, Cristian Fatu, Ioan Filip, Cathy Gibbs, Raluca Gold, Gregory Harrington, Suejin Jung, Erica Lubetkin, Mary Rose Main, Laura Metcalf, Judy and Marv Nierenberg, Gabriela Olaru, Diana Rotaru, Sofia Serrano, Nina Tichman, Robert and Patti Titley, Andreia Toma.

Loudspeakers

Mixed and Mastered on Legacy Audio Loudspeakers

Mastering Engineer

Daniel Shores

Instruments

Original Recording Format

Producer

Dan Merceruio

Recording Engineer

Daniel Shores

Recording Location

Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, VA on May 1-3, 2021

Release Date June 24, 2022

Press reviews

AllMusic 4 out of 5

The Year That Never Was is Romanian pianist Matei Varga’s title. He writes of how he came to embrace the COVID-era isolation and explored the work of Ernesto Lecuona, a composer about whom he had previously known little.

The output of Cuban composer Lecuona is sometimes categorized as salon music, that gray area between classical and popular. While it includes a few classical hits like the opening Andalucía (from the Suite Española), much of his large production of some 600 works remains little explored.

Here, the excerpts from the Danzas cubanas del siglo XIX and Danzas Afro-Cubanas will be worth the price of admission for Lecuona fans, but there are more arrows in Varga’s quiver. He wants to expand the notion of salon music to include some of its predecessors, not only Chopin but going back as far as Domenico Scarlatti.

One can quibble with some of his choices. He has a couple of Gershwin pieces, but the roots of Gershwin’s music are different, and Scott Joplin, a close musical cousin to Lecuona, might have made a better choice.

Yet Varga’s segues are convincing, and his concept is flexible enough to include offbeat items like Mily Balakirev’s Spanish Melody and Romanian composer Andrei Tudor’s Rondo alla Crazy, which Tudor sent to Varga via social media during the pandemic.

That pandemic seems to have produced a boomlet in recordings of salon music, which is probably understandable, and Varga’s release is a novel take on the idea.

Music Web International

This is meant to be music making to revive the mood and all I can say is: Mission accomplished! If the combined assault of war, inflation and a post Covid world are getting too much for you, I can enthusiastically prescribe a course of this joyous disc.

Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Sono Luminus 67 albums

More from this label

Currency
Cart