07 Louise BessettePort of Call: Curaçao
Louise Bessette
Analekta AN 2 9845 (analekta.com/en)

Acclaimed Canadian pianist Louise Bessette launches her admirable new recording series of solo piano works, A Piano Around the World. Here, in Port of Call: Curaçao, she is the first to record these 22 pieces from Antillean Dances composed by Curaçao composer/pianist Wim Statius Muller (1930-2019), nicknamed the Chopin of Curaçao. After studies at Juilliard and teaching at Ohio State University, Muller worked over 30 years at security and counterespionage, returning to Curaçao and music after his retirement!

Muller’s music resonates and combines influences of Caribbean folk music and Chopin, whose music was introduced to Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles in the 19th century. Opening track Tumba di Johan Op.2 No.1 is a mix of classical and popular as Bessette’s controlled playing with rubato, left-hand rhythms and right-hand melodies create a dance feeling. Piet Maal –Valse Op.2 No.13 is a more Chopin-like waltz performed with melodic subtle colour shifts, clear phrasing and balance between the hands, as is Muller’s renowned romantic Nostalgia – Valse Op.2 No.22. Bessette plays the more dance-along South American sounds with perfection, like in Kalin-Tumba Op.2 No.19, reminiscent of Piazzolla, and faster modern Chuchubi – À la rumba Op.4 No.5.

Bessette must be commended for taking on such a complex illustrious solo project. Her world-class virtuosic playing and understanding of classical and folk styles, clear production values and order of tracks bring uplifting sonorities and lasting vitality to Muller’s wide-ranging piano works.

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