The turnout for the magnificent solo piano concert by Maestro Antonio Cabrero at the Auditorio de la Ribera del Lago on March 5 was surprisingly small. Nevertheless, his exquisite musicianship and the beautiful melodies completely captivated his audience.
Cabrero, the director of the San Miguel International Symphony Orchestra, opened the George Gershwin and Jazz Standards evening with several numbers from Porgy and Bess including, “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “I Got Plenty of Loving” and “Summertime.”
A very personable performer, Cabrero established an immediate rapport with his audience and, introducing his program as he went, made humorous asides and provided additional information about the works he was playing, which was fascinating.
He shifted gear to “Body & Soul,” Johnny Green’s 1930’s hit, which, Cabrero said, “Has the best bridge ever, so let’s hope I don’t mess it up!” He didn’t and the audience loved it.
Next he played “You Go to My Head,” which he claimed was “too polite to be successful” when it was published; followed by Harry Warren’s “Serenade in Blue,” before brilliantly honky-tonking his way through Hudson & Mills’ 1933 classic, “Moonglow” and George Bassman’s “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.”
Another gear change and the audience was held spellbound as “Tenderly” by Walter Lloyd Gross, and then Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are,” which he described as “the most perfectly constructed song ever.”
Cabrero explained that Otto Harbach’s lyrics are based on a Russian proverb, “When your heart’s on fire, the smoke gets in your eyes,” before playing Kern’s distinctive musical interpretation of it, followed by his “All the Things You Are.”
Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” led into the beautiful melody, “As Time Goes By.” Cabrero explained the song was written by Herman Hupfeld for a 1931 musical called “Everybody’s Welcome,” which disappeared without trace before eventually being rediscovered and becoming a classic.
His greatly anticipated performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” was masterful, moving and utterly unforgettable. The audience adamantly refused to let him go without an encore and was rewarded with Gershwin’s delightful “Foggy Day in London Town.”
A glorious concert from the consummate piano maestro himself, it was a rare treat!