Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

An excellent survey of music for the Spanish Guitar

From January 11, 2012:


The Minneapolis-based guitarist James Flegel has chosen an especially interesting programme for his new guitar disc on Clear Note. Some of these works will be well known even to Classical Guitar neophytes, while others might be new even to those familiar to the music of Spain and Latin America. The disc provides a good survey of music for the Spanish Guitar from its 16th century roots through the classical period to its great flowering in the 20th century. The music also shows off Flegel's virtuosity and his musicianship. His technique is assured, for example, in the well-known Asturias by Albeniz, as it is in the Allegro Solemne of Barrios. He doesn't bring to Turina's Sevillana Fantasia quite the same combination of passion and delicacy as Manuel Barrueco on EMI, but it's still an impressive reading of this important work. He plays the deceptively simple pieces of Barrios and Lauro with admirable clarity, and he brings out the charm in this lovely music.

New to me was the Argentine composer Jose Luis Merlin's Suite del Recuerdo. The suite has an interesting mix of rhythms and appealing melodies. It is folkloric, evoking the pampas, but there is a classical/baroque feel as well. Like so often in Villa-Lobos one can hear bits of Bach, and in Merlin's case also Scarlatti.

A fine new release - recommended!

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