Daniel Rojas: Bliss of Heaven – reviews

Daniel Rojas: Bliss of Heaven – reviews
February 5, 2018 Jacqueline

Album reviews for Daniel Rojas’ critically acclaimed album “Bliss of Heaven: Music of the New World” (Da Vinci Classics)
– now available online and via the artist’s website.

Daniel Rojas, piano/composer
Baldini Quartet (Brazil)
Stephen Cuttriss, bandonéon

From MusicWeb International:

“really fine playing throughout… this is by some distance the best arrangement of Libertango that I have heard.
If at this point, you are starting to think that is just another tango album, don’t. There is in fact only one more: Rojas’ Navegar, which is only recognisable as such by its rhythms, given its much slower tempo…. The mood is one of poignancy and reflection; there are no contrasting rapid sections, but that in itself helps to provide contrast with other works on the album. […]

The Mambo Influenciado of Cuban Jesús Valdés provides an upbeat and jazz-inflected interlude between the slow, sad works that precede and follow it, further evidence of the intelligence behind the programming of the works on the album. … I have left what might be the most remarkable arrangement until last. Hanacpachap Cussicuinin (The Bliss (or Joy) of Heaven) is a sacred choral work that dates back to the early 1600s in Peru… The middle section comprises original music by Rojas based on the original harmonies, inspired by baroque counterpoint but with some modern twists. It is an exceptionally powerful and striking piece.

The performances are wonderful: Rojas’ piano playing has great verve and tenderness. The Sáo Paulo-based Baldini Quartet and Australian Cuttriss make for perfect partners across all the varying moods and styles. Each time I listened to this CD, I heard more to enjoy, and that possibly is the best recommendation I can make for this.”

From Sounds like Sydney:

“Talking about orthodoxy, Daniel is anything but. That is the charm of this CD. As well as relying on the essential South American rhythms, Rojas’ compositions, in some of the pieces, filters themes from musical history…. In closing, I’ll refer to Rojas notes describing the recording sessions in Brazil that produced this CD where he writes: “the personal and musical chemistry [in the sessions] was palpable, synergetic and inspirational. Heaven blew us a kiss and we bathed in its bliss!” Amen.”

And Limelight Magazine’s 5 star review of the launch concert in Sydney:

“Chilean-born Australian Daniel Rojas’ name is synonymous with brilliant Latin American pianism, grounded in the classical idiom. His aim he says, is to bring the “Latin American vernacular music into the classical concert hall.” He is achieving this with astonishing and popular success. In the high-octane performance that unfolds, Rojas and Ensemble Apex Strings stir the passions and seduce our souls. […]

“There is tremendous chemistry between Rojas and the Ensemble Apex Strings, cohesive and dynamic. Rojas is a charismatic performer whose music gives us a window into several worlds. His music speaks of myriad colours and tales from across Latin America; music of the old world is fused with the new; classical traditions are woven into indigenous Latin American aesthetics, paying homage to the great masters. Rojas spins his dazzling improvisations with ease, combining his music with entertaining insights and historical narratives. These earworms will take a while to dispel.” –Limelight Magazine, May 2021 (live review – 5 stars)