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Bulgarian Pianist Tania Stavreva's World-Class Self-Released Solo Debut Comes Complete with 'Rhythmic Movement.'

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Jan 17, 2017 11:08 AM EST

For her impressive self-released debut, 20something New York City pianist/composer Tania Stavreva has taken solo piano to rare heights on Rhythmic Movement, 14 tracks of a wildly experimental jazz/classical/folk synthesis. Forward-leaning, yet firmly rooted in the folk music of her native Bulgaria, the accents fly by in dizzying whirlwind.

"Ratchenitza" was written in 1934 by Bulgaria's greatest composer, Pancho Vladigerov. "Danzas Argentinas," originally composed as a 1937 Argentinian dance piece by Alberto Ginastera, moves brilliantly as the perfect counterpoint to her own title track, written for an off-off Broadway production of William Shakespeare's 1611 "The Tempest."

Stavreva is so adventurous, refusing to stay within the confines of what constitutes classical, that you might even call some of her inventions punk-jazz. She uses the drummer of heavy metal band Living Colour (Will Calhoun) to add some nice spice to the closing "Ritmico y Distorsionado" which is, indeed, a distorted vision of an earlier track, ""Ruvido ed Ostinato," that adds not only mystery and confusion to the proceedings but an unerring feel of "what can she do next?" On her own "The Dark Side Of The Sun," she sticks her talented fingers inside the piano itself-completely eschewing the 88 keys-to pluck its string innards for a totally entertaining but abbreviated series of glissandos and heavenly harp-like theatrics that hide a dark center. Only in repeated listening, will that center of darkness make itself manifest. This gal knows exactly what she's doing.

Rhythmic Movement was produced in exquisite detail by superstar producer Ron Saint Germain. With over 60 hit albums to his credit, 19 Grammy nominations (14 wins), his associations range from Whitney Houston and U2 to Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross.

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TagsTania Stavreva, REVIEW, Will Calhoun, Ron Saint Germain