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Recorded on the Roland Atelier™ –
|1. Cindy||Folk Song||4:05||Washington
H. S. Choir, Massillon, OH
|2. Firebird Suite||I. Stravinsky||9:49||To the
memory of Joanne Lattavo
|3. Ave Maria
|4. Fugue alla Gigue||J. S. Bach||2:52||In memory
of Virgil Fox
Notes – Track 5, 6 & 7 – Sen-to Chihiro-no
Kamikushi (“Spirited Away” film score)
To the children of Japan
|5. Ano Natsu-e
(Always time after time)
|8. Adios Nonino||A. Piazzolla||4:51||Prince
Willem-Alexander & Princess Maxima
|9. Body and Soul||J. Green||5:21||To Lieve
|10. Intermezzo (from Cavalleria Rusticana)||P. Mascagni||3:56||To the
memory of my father, Cerferino
|11. Vissi d’arte
|12. Rhapsody in Blue||G. Gershwin||9:27||Tribute to
September 11, 2001 and the the City of New York
vi·sions [vízh’ns ] noun
1. an image or concept in the imagination.
2. a beautiful or pleasing sight.
|“What are you thinking when you are playing music?” Hector Olivera is
often asked.Perhaps a difficult question, but to Hector Olivera a poignant one. When
Hector Olivera plays, he doesn’t only create music, but simultaneously he
allows his imagination to evoke images of beauty, and therefore
translating the composition into a vision of passion and soul.
TRACK 1 – Based on an arrangement by Mack Wilberg, Mr. Olivera realized an
orchestration of the old folk tune Cindy.
He played this composition accompanying the youth choir of Washington
High School, Massillon Ohio. Discerning the
possibilities as a solo organ composition, Hector continued to develop the
arrangement and dedicated it to the youth choir and their director, Mr. Loren
Veigel who introduced Hector to the piece. Hector’s musical vision of
gratitude to Mr. Veigel and the youth choir is unequivocal throughout the
TRACK 2 – Firebird by I. Stravinsky was based on a Russian
children’s story, and the excerpts from the Suite are from the 1919 version.
Hector’s arrangement of this very complex piece was inspired by visions of the
creative animation of the Disney Movie “Fantasia 2000”.
TRACK 3 – Hector Olivera was only 8 years old when he played
Ave Maria at the cathedral of Our Lady of Lujan in
Buenos Aires, Argentina. The simplicity of this timeless composition doesn’t
only evoke thoughts of the Virgin Mary, but also brings back memories of the
hundred of times Hector played this piece at weddings as a young organist in
TRACK 4 – We have not heard any rumbles from the old country…We are sure that
they will love Fugue alla Gigue. And we strongly
believe that the minds of Bach, Stokowsky and Virgil Fox would boggle if they
could see and hear how just one person arranged and plays this entire
TRACKS 5, 6 & 7 – At the request from Roland Japan, Hector transcribed the music from the
hit movie “Sen-to Chihiro-no Kamikakushi“, an
animated story created by the genius of Hayao Miyazaky. While watching the
movie, and arranging the music, it was announced that Disney had obtained the
rights to release the movie in the USA under the title “Spirited Away.” Someday
you will be able to ‘experience’ Hector’s vision when watching this “Golden
Bear” award winning animated film..
TRACK 8 – When Maxima from Argentina became the bride of Dutch Prince
Alexander, she requested the famous tango Adios Nonino
to be performed during the wedding ceremony in February 2002. But
while Hector played this tango during his recent visit to Holland, his
memories took him back to Argentina, where, as a 9 year old, he sat on the
knees of famous composer Astor Piazzolla while improvising a fugue on one of
TRACK 9 – Body and Soul takes place in a Cocktail Lounge, and Hector’s
imagination comes alive when he creates a classic lounge scene and the mood is
evoked through the sultry sound of the tenor saxophone.
TRACK 10 – It was a rainy day and Hector’s father took him to see his first
Operetta “Cavalleria Rusticana.” Arriving late,
the Intermezzo was being played. The memory of that particular day and the
mystical connotation is a vision in Hector’s mind that will never fade.
TRACK 11 – In this memorable scene from the Opera ‘Tosca’, Vissi d’arte
is a beautiful aria that Tosca sings to the scoundrel Baron Scarpia, chief of
Police of her love of God and music, and ponders why God has rewarded her
devotion to Him with the arrest and torture of her sweetheart.
TRACK 12 – George Gershwin, son of Russian immigrants, was born in Brooklyn, New
York in 1898. His genius will live in everyone’s heart for ever.
Rhapsody in Blue was performed for the first time in New York City during
a concert titled “Experiments in Modern Music.” Hector’s
humble tribute to the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and dedicated to the City
of New York evokes visions of not only New York but also of the animation
created by Disney for the movie “Fantasia 2000.”
We hope that for 62 minutes you will place yourself inside Hector’s mind
and join him on his Visions.
Recorded in July and August of 2002 on the Roland Atelier®
Mastering by Joe Bellamy, Peace in the Valley ~ Arleta, CA.
Text by Lieve J.
Graphics Design by Ray Britt, PressArts of San Diego, CA
Insert cover – Original Picture taken by Dave Van de Water,
Whoops and Hollers used in “Cindy” recorded by Fred Burau, Leon Canty, Mark
Christine, Nick Riggs and John Warren, members of the Washington High School
Choir from Massillon, Ohio, conducted by Loren Veigel.
© 2002 ®
Printed with permission of Alan Ashton, Freelance Journalist Organ 1st
Ask me my favourite assignment and I will, without a shadow of
hesitation tell you it’s the chance to review a Hector Olivera recording, and
happily for yours truly it’s that time again. Roland must have thought they’d
won a State Lottery when they got Hector to sign on their dotted line, because
if you’re going to have someone showcase their instruments, you’ve got to have
the No 1 classical, theatre and electronic organist rolled into one.
The concept behind VISIONS [MPI CD112] is one of a
dedicatory nature with all 12 tracks being specifically linked to family,
friends, Royalty and right on down to the population of New York City.
Hector kicks off with CINDY, a folk tune which was first
introduced to him by a Choir Director. Whilst Grandpa sits in his rocking
chair chewing baccy, many a Hollywood movie barn building sequence has been
intercut with this happy-go-lucky number. Git me another plate of grits Pa!
If, like me, you happen to enjoy Walt Disney’s Fantasia,
the FIREBIRD SUITE will be familiar to you, appearing as it does in the 2000
sequel of animated sequences cut to classical works. The Suite, the earliest
of three by Igor Stravinsky, the others being Petrushka and the Rite of
Spring, has a fabulist plot which is an amalgamation of Russian Fairy tales.
Even without any Disney visuals it’s so easy to just immerse yourself in the
music of this famous ballet.
Hector returns to the roots of his youth when, aged only
eight years of age, he played the Bach-Gounod AVA MARIA in his native
Argentina. With the phenomenal sounds at his disposal from the Roland AT90S,
it must have been like turning back the clock a half century.
Ever since I heard the late Virgil Fox play the FUGUE ALLA
GIGUE (JIG FUGUE) on his touring Rogers organ, the affectionately known Black
Beauty, it’s been a firm favourite of mine. As Virgil said at the time “the
tune comes one, two, three times in the hands and the fourth time when it
comes to the feet … I dance the jig” Hector succeeds in combining all those
elements in the performance which is dedicated to the memory of this
The next item is in three parts and it’s doubtful if, at
the time of writing, that the film has reached these shores. Taken from an
Award winning Japanese animated film, Disney obtained the screen rights and
has released it in the States under the title SPIRITED AWAY. Already one of
the biggest grossing films in Japan, Hector was honoured to showcase the score
on the concert stage with Japanese children. I can only be honest and say I
have no idea of the storyline, but if the animations are as delightful as the
music suggests, then it will be a visually joyous experience.
The lead instrument heard in the opening bars of ADIOUS
NONINO had the hall marks of an accordion, and yet I wasn’t convinced.
Checking up on the composer, Astor Piazzolla, I discovered that he was quite
famous for playing the Bandoneon in a rather unconventional way. Most
exponents do so sitting down, but Astor always did so by standing with one leg
on a chair. You could easily dismiss the sound as that of an accordion, but
this unique reed instrument is much richer in sound: the invention of Heinrich
Band who first put one on sale in his German shop back in 1850. Astor died
just 10 years ago but not before he had spent a lifetime of devotion to the
music of the Tango. This is one of his most famous compositions: a haunting
tune that envelopes the listener in a warm and evocative soundscape.
Next come two well-known Classics. CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA,
(RUSTIC CHIVALRY) by the Italian composer and Conductor Pietro Mascagni, and
VISSI D’ARTE from the opera Tosca. The former is a tale of love and jealousy
in a Sicilian village, whilst the Roland instrument once again comes up trumps
with a realistic vocal impression of heroine Floria Tosca as she pleads for
the release of her lover Cavaradossi.
I can’t imagine the much travelled Hector Olivera ever
having the time to sit in the intimate surroundings of a Cocktail lounge with
his charming wife Lieve, but in BODY & SOUL he proves that such occasions have
happened, or how else would he summon up such an atmospheric musical picture.
The sound of the tenor sax is to die for. Since the horrific events of Sept 11
… or 9/11 in American speak, a number of organists have released tribute
tracks which invariably consist of patriotic tunes. Amidst all the flag-waving
compositions there is one tune, although the composer would never have dreamt
that it would be appropriate, that encapsulates so much of what New Yorkers
experienced that fateful day. George Gershwin is the composer, and RHAPSODY IN
BLUE (the title came from brother Ira) is the work that Hector has chosen as a
humble tribute. The original score by Gershwin had a 17-note scale to open the
work, but it was clarinettist Ross Gorman of the Paul Whiteman band, who
jokingly played the now famous clarinet smear during a rehearsal, and Gershwin
adopted it from that day on. Hectors version is stylish, and like a blanket
shields the listener from the horrors that this world has occasion to present
It sadly brings to an end, all too quickly, this 62 min CD.
With each successive release I express the view that Hector can never surpass
it, but deep down I know that he can, and long may he continue to do so.