Berklee educated Spanish pianist and composer Iñaki Sandoval moved to Estonia from Barcelona to take up a post as Director of PhD studies at the Viljandi Culture Academy, University of Tartu. The move from the warm and sunny south of Europe to the no-less-beautiful but somewhat colder Baltic state seems to have kick started a period of intense creativity. Sandoval recorded Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn at his concert in the Estonian capital in March 2017, part of the Iberofest organised by the Spanish Embassy [a live DVD of the concert is part of this package]. It consists, with one exception, of his own compositions drawn from three already-recorded solo albums to be released in late-2017 and 2018.
"Suite For Piano No. 1 Chorale, In G Major" opens with gentle, spacious, chordssilence is as affecting as Sandoval's playing. It builds almost imperceptibly, slowly becoming more intense until he's striking a flurry of notes that suddenly resolves into another phase of gentle introspection. It's an impressive combination of emotions, melodies and harmonies. Later in the Suite, Sandoval draws on Estonian traditional songs and the theme from "Ilus On Maa" by Rein Rannap, creating a lyrical and beautiful interlude.
The second suite, "Suite For Piano No. 2 Mimesis, In B Minor," is shorter and thematically more consistent. Sandoval's left hand is used sparingly, his right deftly crafts melodic lines. "Two Nocturnes" is inspired by Chopin and by the magic of Estonia's long winter nights. Both pieces readily conjure up feelings of stillness and calm. The second, in F Major, sounds like a torch song melody just waiting for a lyric. "Ilus On Maa" appears again, as a single piece characterised by Sandoval's delicate touch and sense of space. The concert's encore, "Viljandi," is the first song he wrote in Estonia, a worthy tribute to the country's "most beautiful town."
Sandoval's beautiful Miracielos (Bebyne Records, 2012), recorded with Billy Hart and Eddie Gomez, ably demonstrated his ability in a jazz piano trio format. Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn shows Sandoval's strengths as a solo performer of great sensitivity and dynamism: another excellent addition to his discography.
Suite For Piano No. 1 Chorale, In G Major; After The Rain; Suite For Piano No. 2
Mimesis, In B Minor; Two Nocturnes; Harmonic Etudes; The Old Tree; Ilus On Maa;