J. M. Quintana Camara
Reviewed by Cathy Oakes
This CD begins with “The Challenge” and ends with “Successful Challenge.” If this was a personal challenge for J. M. Quintana Camara, it was successful, indeed! The music on Timeless is beautifully orchestrated and very cinematic in feel. Quite understandable, considering his background with writing music for television, soundtracks and various documentaries.
I took my time with this review because it was out of the ordinary for me. And I’m so thankful that I did. I got to “know” the music and gained a feel for the beautiful style, the exquisite expression and the out-of-the-park talent on the keyboard.
The first track, The Challenge, begins with slow quiet chords on the piano. But once the instruments and percussion enter, it’s off to the races with this one. Driving beat and strong themes that get passed back and forth from the orchestration to the piano carry this piece to a final and almost abrupt end, daring you to take The Challenge. Fighting Against the Unknown is a beautiful, melodic, introspective piece. The melody soars through the French horn (one of my favorite instruments) and is carried throughout the piece by different instruments. I LOVE his choice of instrumentation in this piece! Once again, Quintana Camara ends the piece leaving the listener wanting more – BRILLIANT! I think this is my favorite piece on the CD. It has moved me to tears. Sleep Paralysis sounds exactly like its title. It portrays that point where one tries so hard to “turn off” the frantic thoughts and just find rest. It paints a picture of that half-waking, half-dreaming moment – right on the brink of sleep. The listener nearly finds that elusive rest when the frantic thoughts return.
AMIAS is one of the composer’s personal favorites. It is the soundtrack for a short film with the same name. Very quiet and almost brooding, this piece expresses the melody on both the piano and the French horn beautifully. Wonders of Earth has an ethereal feel. It expresses an awe of the beauty that surrounds us on this earth that we call home.
Stop Hunger was written as a soundtrack to “The Third Rider.” It is a documentary on malnutrition and hunger in our world. It is dark with driving rhythms. It portrays a pathos that provokes thought and emotion in the listener. This piece is the artist’s way of expressing his complaint against the situation of hunger on our planet. Welcome Back is a love song – pure and simple. It is tender and melodic with passionate themes. It is another favorite of mine. Frenetic World, once again paints a very vivid picture of the business of our everyday lives. In the music, you can literally hear one going about their daily business when, suddenly, crisis strikes and must be dealt with – only to return immediately to a frantic business. Toward the Unknown begins with a mysterious, tentative, almost hesitant theme on the piano. It gains pace and strength, while remaining just slightly tentative, expressing that slight fear of the unknown that we all share.
The Magic of Christmas expresses a wonder and excitement of a child’s view of Christmas. I love this bright little waltz with a “happy dance” section in the middle. It conjures images of children gathered around the tree opening gifts one after the other and expressing their joy in receiving “just what they wanted!”
Quintana Camara wraps up this CD with a beautiful solo piano version of Stop Hunger followed by Successful Challenge, a brighter version of the opening piece, The Challenge. An excellent ending to a superb CD!
Any one of the pieces on this CD could be used as a soundtrack. Each piece portrays an emotion, a thought, a personal challenge in such a poignant way. Quintana Camara has painted a beautiful musical collage of the challenges of life in Timeless. VERY well done, sir! I give this CD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it highly!