Roque Cordero: The Complete Works for Solo Piano

Tuyen Tonnu

Catalog #: TROY1833-34
Release Date: August 1, 2020
Format: Digital

Roque Cordero is universally acknowledged as Panama's finest composer. He was, in addition, an impassioned educator, writer, and conductor whose accomplishments were honored with numerous awards and commissions. His frequent and enthusiastic participation in international music festivals and organizations gave him a prominent place in the community of Latin American composers during the second half of the 20th century. Cordero's output comprises more than 80 compositions, the majority for chamber ensemble or orchestra. Vietnamese-American pianist Tuyen Tonnu offers Cordero's complete output for solo piano on this 2-CD set. She is known for her sensitive command of timbral color, singing lyricism, and striking style. She has graced the world's stages with solo and chamber music concerts in the U.S. as well as Asia and Europe. Dr. Tonnu is on the faculty at Illinois State University.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Miniatura para Piano Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Preludio para la Cuna Vaciá Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Nostalgia Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Sonatina Rítmica Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Cinco Miniaturas para Piano Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Variaciones para la Segunda Miniatura Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Neuve Preludios Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Sonata Breve Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Tres Piececillas para Alina Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Five New Preludes for Piano Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Sonata for Piano Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)
Tres Meditaciones Poéticas Roque Cordero Tuyen Tonnu (piano)


  • "One would think that, since he [Roque Cordero] is a Panamanian composer of considerable skill and imagination, people agitating for more people of color to be represented in today's music scene might champion his work At least Tuyen Tonnu, an associate professor at Illinois State University, believes in the music and has the skill necessary to realize it effectively and inspirationally. Professor Tonnu performs Cordero with considerable authority and verve. "

    – American Record Guide

  • "The long-lived Roque Cordero (1917–2008) is Panama's most famous composer. He is not spectacularly represented on the Fanfare Archive, it has to be said, so to have a full twofer devoted exclusively to his piano music, in uniformly superb performances, feels like a luxury indeed. It is lovely when recording projects can bring music to the public for the first time, as here It is certainly the world's loss up to now regarding the brilliant Miniatura of 1941. The Preludio para la Cuna Vacia (Prelude for the Empty Cradle) marked a return to composition after a four-year hiatus and is a charming, gently rocking lullaby; Vietnamese-American pianist Tuyen Tonnu clearly not only understands the idiom but also feels it deeply. It shows real thought into how to present this music that there is a more extended gap between Nostalgia and the Sonatina Rítmica, the first work that could be described in any way as extended on this conspectus. There's no missing the inherent life in the Sonatina Rítmica (1943), and Tuyen Tonnu is a fabulously equipped performer; her tone can sing, too, as the central Adagietto shows. Tonnu places the slowly pulsing element perfectly, and note how the piece is characterized by its cross-handed writing. It's a rather nice happenstance that the final work here, the three Tres Meditaciones Poéticas, written in 1995, is also deliciously reflective. While these pieces have some scrunchier moments, perhaps the most touching is the central Adagio angoscioso (slow and grieving), inspired by a New Year's Eve vision of his deceased sister, Natividad, dancing joyfully in the street. Heartbreakingly tender, it is this of all the music on this release that is impossible to forget, and Tonnu traces the pieces' shapes marvelously. "

    – Fanfare

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