ListN Up Playlist: Johanny Navarro (January 25, 2024)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice.

Johanny Navarro is a highly accomplished composer known for her diverse musical collaborations, including partnerships with renowned musicians and institutions. Rooted in Afro-Caribbean aesthetics, her compositions, featured by ensembles like The Catholic University of America Symphony Orchestra, have been showcased at prestigious events such as Festival Casals. Notably, Navarro received the Discovery Grant in 2020 for her acclaimed opera “¿Y los Pasteles?,” and she continues to make significant contributions to the operatic stage with works like “The Magic Cabbage” (2022) and the upcoming “Working for the Macbeths” (2023).

Hola a todos! My name is Johanny Navarro, a composer and arranger from Puerto Rico. Today, I’m super excited to share my playlist curated for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. These musical works have an extraordinary place in my heart. They are treasures I have found along the way, reminding me of the beautiful gift of music. Every time I come across these pieces, I fall in love with music all over again. ¡Que disfruten! ¡Mucha música!

“Lento” from Piano trio no. 2 in B minor by Joaquín Turina, performed by Trio Kreisleriana

This piece by Spanish composer Joaquín Turina is one of my favorite piano trios. This sonata-form movement is a delicacy of sound and color. Here, you can appreciate the composer’s structural and sonic craftsmanship and his particular way of evoking Spanish and French influences. The development of themes, harmonies, and energy in this movement is astonishing.

“Under, Snow” from Garden in Harp by Gary Schocker, performed by Emily Mitchell

Peace, calm, tranquility. These emotions permeate while listening to this movement by American composer and flutist Gary Schocker. The harmonic motion never ceases to surprise me in each measure; it is a comforting journey.

“Canción de Cuna India” by Gilardo Gilardi, performed by Patricia and Laura Deleo

Music for voice is very important to me. In this piece, Gilardo Gilardi’s music captures the text’s magic by author, composer, and director Ana Serrano Redonnet. The musical detailing in the piano score is striking, like stars on a warm summer evening. Patricia and Laura Deleo’s interpretation is moving; their dynamics and sounds evoke a wonderful ancestral dimension to this Argentinean lullaby.

“Danzas Cubanas No. 6: Ayer y Hoy” by Mario Ruiz Armengol

This joyful, concise dance offers swinging movement and ravishing textural and dynamic counterpoint. When I listen to this piece, it brings me joy and happiness. Its melodic themes, which are full of beauty, are strengthened by those surprising changes of tone that give a new breath to the work. My favorite part is the end when the pedal enters — a great composition by the Mexican composer Mario Ruiz Armengol.

“Margarita” by Manuel G. Tavarez, performed by Orquesta Sinfónica Marvela

La danza puertorriqueña is a musical genre that was created in the mid-19th century. The style is very rich in melody and harmony, always guided by an evolving sabroso rhythm. This dance is one of my favorites, by Puerto Rican composer Manuel Gregorio Tavárez, known as the father of Puerto Rican dance. It is his most famous dance, evoking deep nostalgia, and at the same time, admiration, especially in that major change.

“Spirals” from Triptych by Clarice Assad, performed by Amalia Tortajada and Andrea González Caballero

The harmonic and rhythmic complexity of Brazilian composer Clarice Assad makes her one of the most relevant composers of the day. In this movement, flute and guitar significantly complement each other. The entire development of the main theme are incredible, and all the possibilities Assad shows are impressive. Great performance from Amalia Tortajada on flute and Andrea González Caballero on guitar!

“10 Cantos Populares: No. 4” by Carlos Guastavino, performed by Mirian Conti

Like a rigid and sentimental dance, this piece never ceases to amaze me, especially how these melodies move freely across the staff. Ah, that modal shift… There is a unique chemistry between the compositional craftsmanship of Argentinian composer Guastavino and Argentinean pianist Mirian Conti. Her interpretation and dynamics are fascinating.

“Jardín Soñador” by Alfredo Rodríguez and Pedrito Martinez

This song, composed by Alfredo and Pedrito, is an ode to music. The melodies, harmonies, and rhythms create a sacred reverence for music. Without a doubt, it is one of the songs that touches a very special fiber in my heart. Whenever I hear it, I remember how much I love music and all the beautiful things it has given me.“Hago reverencia a la más bella. Mi religión, la música. Música mi oxígeno. Mi océano. A quien le debo todo mi ser”

“Three of a Kind” by Manolo Navarro

This piece was composed and performed by one of my favorite musicians, my father, Manolo Navarro. He is a composer, arranger, and teacher. His approach to music has influenced me and my two brothers, Orlan and Emmanuel, who are also musicians. This song is dedicated to us, sus tres hijos, and is one of my favorite pieces of music.


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