Photo: Reno Massola
A Cuban composer of the twentieth century stands out among others, regardless of vanguards, currents and modernity, and has built a work on which holds much of the Cuban piano heritage. This is Alfredo Diez Nieto (Havana, 1918) "pianist, orchestra conductor, composer and teacher" as he defines himself.
Master of several generations and recognized Cuban intellectual, this long-lived and lucid man has been registered also in the annals of Cuba’s artistic teaching. Founder of Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, director of the first school of a rt instructors, professor of the National School of Art (ENA) and the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), Diez Nieto has lived giving himself.
A contemporary and friend of Harold Gramatges and Argeliers Leon, two of the most active members of the group Musical Renewal, though he was never an official member of it, Alfredo Diez Nieto filtered naturally the Cuban essence learned from Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro García Caturla.
According to critics, his work is characterized by a solid formal structure, a modern language and a nationalism through which you can document his culture and time.
Alfredo also contributed, in the late 60’s of the past century and for several years, to the professional development of many of the popular musicians of the country through the Gonzalo Roig Popular Orchestra (symphonic) of Concert, an institution that could easily be among the great utopias made by the Revolution.
Many are the stories of those years, but suffice to point out the one of Rafael Lay (father), director of the legendary Orquesta Aragon, who wept with emotion at the conclusion of his presentation at Paula Church where he was the concertmaster (first violin) and performed works of Bach, Haydn and Mozart. The same happened to Richard Egues with the flute and other interpreters of Anacaona, the Ignacio Piñeiro National Septet and the orchestras Sensacion, Pancho el Bravo, and others. All surpassed their own expectations thanks to the expertise and generous collaboration of Diez Nieto.
But, despite the recognition that has always had in the art world, it is not until 2012 that Diez Nieto, who was granted with the 2005 Cuban National Music Award and Artistic Teaching, sees published, for the first time, a part of his work. It was the Colibri record label, from the Cuban Institute of Music, responsible for perpetuating the Cuban musical heritage, which released Capricho Cubano, a package containing 2 CDs and a multimedia with scores of some of the most important pieces of the composer (ready for printing) and a compendium of his work, newspaper clippings and interviews with the artist.
ubadisco 2012, the most important phonographic event of the island, named him Composer of the Year, recognizing not only the phonogram, but also extends to all the work of the artist.
Among the pieces on this collection are Preludio No. 2, Grand Sonata for piano, the trios No 2 and 3, Sonata for Violin and Capricho Cubano, the work that names the track. In the recording, made between May and October 2009, under Diez Nieto´s tutelage, participated Leonardo Gell, a young pianist who justifies through his talent and rigor the prizes and awards he has received, and who has also been student and admirer of Diez Nieto. H is fellows in the Trio Concertante, Dianelys Castillo (clarinet) and Fernando Muñoz (violin), were part of this work and the pianist Ulises Hernández and violinist Evelio Tieles also joined them.
Some of these works can be heard on January 5th, at the San Felipe Neri Oratory, in a concert where the 10th anniversary of Colibri will be marked along the life and work of such a prominent maker of Cuban culture.