David's Review Corner
, September 2009
Regarded as today’s leading Spanish composer of piano music, this disc samples Jesus Rueda’s output over the past eighteen years. Though never a performing musician, Rueda instinctively writes for the keyboard, often taking the pianist to the boundary of the physically possible while keeping with the conventions that date back to Chopin and Liszt. That he presents the soloist with prodigious challenges is evident in the short opening track, Mephisto, a score taking its name and intent from the work composed by Liszt, but going a few more rungs down the ladder into the world of diabolical hellish difficulties. The first sonata, Jeux d’eau, is in direct descent of French Impressionists, with washes of sound that call for a display of great dexterity. The second, Ketjak, came fourteen years later and is very different in its uncompromising atonality. Both are in contrast to the Invenciones, a series of easy works intended for children, nine included here making happy listening. The 24 Interludes were composed while Rueda lived in Rome and are short scenic pictures and events that took place in his life. The longest does not reach three minutes, some end almost as soon as they begin. Ananda Sukarlan has specialised in the field of contemporary music, and plays some monstrously difficult passages with seeming ease. This is modern music for those who are into that musical world, and is immaculately recorded.