Sergio Cervetti returns with an exciting collection of works on his sixth Navona Records release, Sunset at Noon. A diverse composer, his works range from instrumental and vocal music to electronic compositions, often reflecting his South American, French and Italian heritage. His vocabulary draws from an early interest in twelve-tone and minimalism, and his current approach is flexible and free of constraint.
With Sunset at Noon, Cervetti focuses on keyboard-based compositions for half of the album, with a foray into chamber music on the other half. Cervetti’s keyboard compositions shine in this collection. On Ofrenda Para Guyunusa for Harpsichord, Cervetti delivers a peaceful and slightly meditative piece that very occasionally veers into Bachian territory. Some Realms I Owned is split into three piano movements – the first starts with a lively melodic line before landing on a relentless pedal point while Cervetti solos in a restrained manner; the second is the more contemplative of the three; and the third is a frantic piece featuring rapid arpeggios before settling on a more linear melodic sequence. I Can’t Breathe, while based on a wild piano performance, centers around a pulsating rhythm that at times sounds like the fervent keys of a typewriter. The performance and composition both match the composition’s urgent title; it’s a quick burst of desperate sounds clawing their way out of the speaker, not quite two and a half minutes long. Cervetti trades in his keyboards for clarinet and strings on And The Huddled Masses, a three-part suite, as well as Sunset At Noon, for violin and viola, a sprawling 18-minute opus that serves as the album’s grounding centerpiece. For the most part, Cervetti’s string scores deliver a more somber mood that counterbalances the upbeat and at times delirious vibe of the keyboard-based compositions. As the sacred vocal arrangement on Lux Lucet in Tenebris closes the album, its contrast with the album’s secular pieces acts as a testament to Cervetti’s imagination and compositional fortitude.
He has a keen ability to combine several different sounding compositions on one album and have it come across as a complete and congruent work. But ultimately, that is Cervetti’s strength – he is an enigmatic composer whose work knows no boundaries.
Sergio Cervetti (piano), Alden Ortuño Cabezas (clarinet), Leonardo Pérez Baster (violin), Luis Alberto Mariño Fernández (violin), Yamed Aguillón Santa Cruz (viola), Lester Monier Serrano (cello), María Teresa Chenlo (harpsichord), Vít Muzík (violin), Dominika Mužíková (viola)
Kühn Choir (chorus), Marek Vorlíček, Enrique Pérez Mesa