[ALBUM REVIEW] The Ovalle Project, Andree-Ann Deschenes
French-Canadian pianist Andree-Ann Deschenes specializes in familiarly danceable yet traditionally influenced classical music from Latin American countries. So it makes sense that she would be drawn to Jayme Ovalle, a lesser-known Brazilian composer.
Andree-Ann said she was mesmerized the first time she played an Ovalle piece, and that passion has led to The Ovalle Project, a two-disc collection of 24 opuses ranging from short and melancholic to lengthy showpieces. This labor of love took a year of gathering and recording in Southern California.
The pianist wanted a strong and evocative start to this new project, and Aboio (Op. 8) is just what the listener needs to be introduced to Jayme Ovalle. If you really want to listen to something typically Ovallian, Romança (Op. 29) really encompasses all the things that makes his music unique and interesting.
Then there are two pieces, a collection titled Dois Retratos (Op. 14), which means “two portraits”. Manuel Bandeira was one of Jayme Ovalle's closest friends and an important Brazilian poet. He wrote the lyrics to Ovalle's famous piece Azulão, and in honor of his importance, Ovalle wrote this piece and named it after Bandeira. The second piece is titled Maria do Carmo, a daring and colorful piece that is intentionally slow.
While Ovalle tended to write short but powerful pieces, the Legendas (Ops. 19, 22, and 23) are these long and virtuosic tomes that Andree-Ann spread throughout the albums to punctuate the work. These three pieces seem to follow a similar pattern, majestic and extended but also each different.
When she was doing her graduate studies at California State University Los Angeles, Andree-Ann was introduced to Latin American classical music. She then fell in love and became intrigued with this genre immediately.
She is the perfect person to take on this lesser-known composer and bring life back into his works. Deschenes’ performance of, and passion for, lesser-known Brazilian works will delight those who are eager to delve into this specialized canon of music.
Learn more about The Ovalle Project on Andree-Ann’s website. The Ovalle Project by Andree-Ann Deschenes is now available for purchase or download. The recording is available through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and CD Baby.