Guitar Recital: Antigoni Goni (Antigoni Goni/ Bonnie Silver/ Mike Nock) (Naxos: 8.553774)
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Carlo Domeniconi (b. 1947)
The Italian-born guitarist-composer CarloDomeniconi has written many concertos, chamber and solo works for the guitar.
Since 1969 he has lived in Berlin but from 1977-1980 he taught at theConservatory of Music in Istanbul, an experience that has had a lasting effecton his work; the influence of Turkish music in many of his later compositionsis strong. Koyunbaba is one such work. The title can be interpreted intwo ways; first as "shepherd" (Koyun = sheep, baba = father) orsecondly as the name of a thirteenth-century holy man who lived in South-westTurkey, an area that now bears his name. The two are brought together inDomeniconi's concept, that a shepherd is uniquely given both the time andinsight to contemplate and understand the vastness and immense power of Nature.
The area of Koyunbaba, with its spectacular and contrasting land- and seascape,is particularly conducive to such profound thoughts, mirrored in the eponymousmusic. Each of the four movements develops a separate mood in the hypnoticfashion of eastern music and on a time-scale that reflects the unhurried lifeof both shepherd and mystic, using a wide range of the guitar's availabledevices and tex1ures.
Invocacion y Danza Joaquin Rodrigo (b.
It remains mysterious as to why Rodrigoshould have floated a work on the unpredictable waters of a competition, morethan two decades after the premi?¿re of his Concierto de Aranjuez, but hewas justified; the Invocacion y Danza won First Prize in theFrench Radio and Television Competition in 1961 and was first performed in thefollowing year by its dedicatee, the Venezuelan guitarist Alirio Diaz.
Thereafter it took some time to establish itself in the concert repertory,owing to the unplayability of the original score; though different guitaristshave adapted it in various ways, it remains a peculiarly difficult work both toplay and to interpret. The piece is in homage to Manuel de Falla, to whomRodrigo has often declared his indebtedness, and it makes direct but fleetingreference to two of his works: Noches en los jardines de Espana and Elamor brujo. The brooding mysticism and pleading of the Invocation givesway to the energy of the Dance, in the form of the polo, a folkdance-song in syncopated triple time. It is Falla who has the final quiet word.
Suite Compostelana (1962)
Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Federico Mompou, a Spanishpianist-composer, was mainly self-taught. He lived for most of his life inParis, where he was greatly influenced by Satie and Debussy. The bulk of hiscompositional output consisted of piano miniatures and vocal music, both ofwhich elements have a bearing on the Suite Compostelana, his only workfor the guitar. The Suite pays tribute to the Spanish cathedral city ofSantiago de Compostela, where for many years Andres Segovia held his annualsummer school. The Prelude is largely based on continuously movinglines, beginning and ending with clear and simple tonality but passing throughremoter regions en route. The Coral (chorale), in four-part chords,recalls Bach's many works in the genre, though not in its harmonization, andpays its respects to the cathedral. The gentle rocking of the Cuna (cradle-song),expressed with charming simplicity, gives way in the middle to a chordalinterlude with 'folkloric' overtones -the 'song' itself? The Recitativo isin fact a dialogue in which one voice is insistent and masculine, whilst theother is playful and feminine. Mompou had the gift of melody and never forgotits importance; this is evident in the plaintive Canci6n, where the songis overlaid with open fourths and fifths, folk-like in effect but not inorigin. Santiago de Compostela is at the heart of the region of Galicia, fromwhich the Muneira, a fiery folk-dance comes.
Un Suefio en la Floresta
Agustin Barrios Mangore (1885-1944)
Barrios was a Paraguayan guitarist andcomposer, performed widely in South America and Europe, but his career was,like that of several distinguished others, overshadowed by that of AndresSegovia. He was the first guitarist to make recordings, the earliest of whichdate from before World War I, and the first to play an entire suite of Bach. Itwas not until the 1970s that more than a few of his many compositions becameknown. Sueno en la Floresta (Dream in the Magic Garden) is aspell-binding exercise in tremolo, utterly idiomatic to the guitar, asare all Barrios' works.
El Decameron negro
Leo Brouwer (b.1939)
Leo Brouwer, a Cuban and a multi-talentedmusical polymath, places a high value on the quality of imagination incomposition, and in this work he certainly demonstrates that belief. ElDecameron negro is inspired by three ballads on African stories, collectedin Black Africa at the beginning of the present century by the anthropologistand writer Leo Frobenius. The title is clearly borrowed from Boccaccio, whose Decameronwas the first-ever collection of fictional stories. Brouwer says of thework: "The main story is about a great warrior who wants to be amusician. Expelled from his tribe and separated from his loved one, he wandersin the mountains. When the tribe began to lose every battle they beggedhim to fight with them again. He won every war and then returned to themountains with his love". So vividly does the music illustrate the text,that a blow-by-blow account would be necessary only to those who entirely Jackthe imagination that Brouwer prizes. The last movement contains the mosttenderly lyrical melody in any of Brouwer's works.
John W. Duane, 1997
The Greek-born guitarist Antigoni Goniwas first prize winner in the 1995 International Guitar Foundation of AmericaCompetition, her success leading to a fifty-recital North American concert tourand her present recording contract with Naxos. In 1991 she took first prize inthe Julian Bream Competition and was a prize- winner in the 1995 StotsenbergInternational Competition, the 1993 Artists International Competition and the1988 International Guitar Competition in the Cuban capital of Havana. AntigoniGoni studied with Evangelos Assimakopoulos at the National Conservatory inAthens and, with John Mills and Julian Bream, at the Royal Academy of Music inLondon and subsequently with Sharon Isbin at the New York Juilliard School ofMusic. As a soloist and recitalist she has appeared in Moscow and St Petersburgand extensively throughout Europe and North America. She is now head of theguitar department of The Juilliard Pre-College Division.
The following people have in one way oranother contributed their magic, inspiration, faith, love, tolerance, support,knowledge and friendship. I would like to thank each and every one of them: Myparents, Angeliki and Konstantinos, and my brother Nicholas. Without them Iwould not have come this far. My teachers Evangelos and Lisa, John Mills,Sharon Isbin and Oscar Gighlia. My fabulous producers Bonnie and Norbert Kraft,my dear friend and guide Manolis Lianandonakis, NAXOS, the GFA board, KostasKonstsandinidis, Natel Matschulat, Annaliese Soros and Alexandra Kalin fortheir faith and support. Kevin R. Gallagher (without his inspiration, love andsupport this project would have been a lot harder), Megan Dodds my spiritualsister, Tali Roth (for friendship and support). My friends all over theworld... and you who read these notes right now and are willing to share mymusic.