Theme and Variations on a Theme by Pablo Milanés was composed in 1993. It contains fourteen variations based on a segment of the song “El breve espacio en que no estás” (The brief space in which you are not), by the Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés. These variations are not only technically challenging but also intellectually demanding and highly imaginative. As Alén’s brother, Cuban musicologist Olavo Alén, has described them: “Every variation represents a different style of composition, mood, or state of mind.” Its final variation serves as a most effective coda to the entire CD.
Distinguished Cuban composer Andrés Alén’s works are characterized by a unique fusion of Cuban dance, jazz, and classical genres. His works have been performed by such legendary Cuban musicians as Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’ Rivera, among others. He has been described as “one of Cuba’s most complete musicians.” Yet his piano music has rarely been recorded.