On May 28, 2021, Los Angeles-based Argentine pianist Fabio Banegas is releasing his new album, Bottiroli Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 2 · Nocturnes, on Grand Piano, the specialist piano label distributed by Naxos. The album notably includes narrations from Mr. George Takei — respected actor, author, and activist best known for originating the role as Star Trek’s Hikaru Sulu.
Fabio Banegas’ newest release displays not only his well-regarded abilities as a pianist, but also his sensitive and thoughtful curation sensibilities. This volume – the sequel to Vol. 1’s Waltzes – features all world premieres, and continues Banegas’ passion for celebrating the rich, colorful work of his late mentor, José Antonio Bottiroli (1920–1990). And like Bottiroli, Banegas also hails from Rosario, Argentina, and both have been acknowledged for their contributions to Rosario’s culture.
Banegas has made it his mission to highlight “hidden gems” in the compositional world. In 2011,Banegas archived Bottiroli’s works, placing him with the unique authority to curate and establish the legacy of his compositions. This installment features Banegas’ interpretations of Bottiroli’s sparkling nocturnes. The composer had a deep fascination with the night sky and outer space, and these selections paint beautiful, vespertinal scenes.
Selections like Nocturne in G♭ Major, B59 recall the best of Debussy; while the Six Album Pages exhibit Satie-like, impressionist insights. Elegantly waltzing in pentatonics is the first ‘page’ — specially dedicated Banegas by Bottiroli. (“To Fabio, surely its best interpreter.”)
The record closes with Five Piano Replies: selections that display Bottiroli’s lyrical prowess. Choice collaborator George Takei enters, lending his iconic timbre to sincere, sage, and resonant narration. His legendary connection to Star Trek — a beloved franchise that intelligently promotes exploration, peace, and awe of the universe — makes him a fitting ambassador for these celestially-inspired works.
Takei’s stellar interpretive skills as a narrator should come as no surprise: from his extensive stage and voiceover work, as well as his own personal love of poetry, he more than has the gravitas to deliver Bottiroli’s words. (Incidentally, Banegas and Takei met queuing for an architectural tour in Chicago, and became good friends, bringing this project full-circle as a celebration of cherished people in Banegas’ life.)
Entitled Bottiroli Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 2 · Nocturnes,
the album includes the following works:
※ 1 – 3 Tres Penas de 1984 (‘Three Sorrows From 1984’)
※ 4 – 9 Seis Hojas de Álbum (‘Six Album Pages’) (1976–77)
※ 10 – 13 Cuatro Piezas de 1974 (‘Four Pieces From 1974’)
※ 14 – 15 Dos Nocturnos en el Sol Bemol Major (‘Two Nocturnes in G♭ Major’) (1978/1984)
※ 16 – 20 Cinco Réplicas para Piano (‘Five Piano Replies’) (1974–80)
To request a copy for review, please email Peter McDowell: [email protected]