Ardent is an unusual album. It's unusual because in these parts - specially in Palma de Mallorca where AgustÌ Fernadez was born - it's hard to find a pianist who composes his own music; unusual also because it's not often that you get a musician deciding to record a first album after 20 years of constant professional practice. But the same circumstances that make of Ardent an unusual album make it also an extraordinary album. For those of us who've enjoyed AgustÌ Fern·ndez in concert, this album fulfils a long-cherished desire. And those who haven't had the chance to see him live are in for a surprise, because, far from being simply a promising first work, this is strong and uncompromising music.
His songs are passionately written, rigorously composed, and admirably played. The passion announced already in the title of the third song Ardent - which gives its name to the album - and in the song Esclava del desig, pervades the whole album and will capture everyone who listens to it. The rigorous composition of the songs makes them anything but gratuitous. From the very beginning AgustÌ Fern·ndez demonstrates that contemporary music isn't incompatible with complexity. None of the songs stray into triviality. We often find complex fragments which nevertheless catch our attention and are easily understandable (Count, for example, the notes in Roma: those are all there are; no more no less). And this means, evidently, that AgustÌ Fern·ndez explains himself perfectly, and that he's able to give it all out in a clear and simple way. His idea of the piano and music is consistent with what he does and the way he does it. There's no trick, failure, or excessive showiness. The unmistakeable sound of his instrument is pure, without disturbing reverberations or excess of effects; striking in its impact. And his delightful singing, his every word! Even though Ardent is a collection of selected songs and not an album planned as a whole, its peculiarities and virtues, as we can see in Bolero pa' tÌ, make its music unequivocally cohesive. All the better if from all these facts we can conclude that AgustÌ Fern·ndez can't be categorized under any label. There aren't many of whom the same can be said. Those are the best ones after all: the ones who are able to awake interest and master the widest spectrum of musical tastes, once they set themselves to it. To listen to Ardent, this unusual and extraordinary album, is to discover an exceptional musician.
Jordi Cornudella, 1986