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                                                                                                                                               fotografía publicada en la revista DODO

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La Folia online music review, New York, USA, 2001, by Grant Chu Covell
Gabriel Valverde
Mode 94

Gabriel Valverde is a composer of quiet music. I'm talking about a restful sometimes fidgety quiet that will that will draw you in and focus your attention on areas that seem less active. Valverde's quiet isn't minimal and won't invoke trances. There is great energy in this music, and Valverde has a confident voice.

The first work on this Mode disc (Mode 94) is a grand two movement work for orchestra, Espacios Inasibles, that relinquishes great activity as if seen from a distance, perhaps even fixed at a distance with no hope of a close-up. In fact, I imagine much of Valverde's music like looking down at the street from atop a high building, or trying to understand something in a background of a painting. Valverde's titles do invite comparison to the metaphor of perception and space, quiet and non-quiet: Resplandor de los Surem (The light of the Surem), El Silencio ya no es al Silencio (Silence is no longer merely silence) and Terra Incognita.

Valverde has a wonderful orchestral palette full of subtle shadings, using percussion to support a texture or generating brief gestures in winds to give poise and balance. The longish 5000 Voices, for mezzo, chamber choir and ensemble, seems like an extended work of chamber music, though it is for moderately large forces. Terra Incognita, for string trio and tape, lacks the aggressiveness that other composers fall into when mixing strings with tape and may seem less interesting by comparison. But in the context of the rest of the disc, you will hear separate contrasting episodes, the tape acting as a catalyst.

The two solo works on the disc are subtle and reflexive: El Silencio ya no es al Silencio, for solo harp has a slack pulse and stutters gently forward. Resplandor de los Surem for piano solo is expansive. A wide range of performers are represented here, from the Malmö Symphony of Sweden to the French Ensemble 2e2m. Clearly Valverde has established a great rapport with some excellent performers and ensembles. This disc is not for those who think new music should be about noise and violence. Valverde brings a gentleness to the world which is surely lacking.

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