Dimitri Illarionov - Guitar Recital
Giuliani Tansman Dyens Rekhin Koshkin Tarrega Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Mauro Giuliani was born in the southern Italian province ofBari - the exact place of his birth is not known. Neither do we know by whatmeans he acquired his abilities with the guitar, flute and violin, so that bythe time he moved to Vienna in 1806 he was already recognised as a virtuosoguitarist and had toured in Europe. There was then little prospect of making arewarding career as a soloist in Italy (especially in the area of his birth)but the situation in Vienna was entirely different. There he soon became verysuccessful, meeting famous composers such as Beethoven, Diabelli and Hummel. Heworked as a performer and composer and even played the cello in the firstperformance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Segovia once described FernandoSor as \garrulous" but how might one refer to Giuliani, who published over ahundred works during his sojourn in Vienna. In 1819 he escaped the unwelcomeattention of the police, after problems with women and money, by returning toItaly, where he managed to resume his high-profile success. The GrandeOuverture, a single-movement in sonata-allegro form, was in fact published inMilan in 1814, while he was still in Vienna, and it remains one of his finestworks. As a 'miniaturised' version of an Italian operatic overture it may beseen as a gentle parody.
By the time Alexandre Tansman moved from his native country ofPoland to settle in Paris in 1919 he had already achieved some success as acomposer and pianist. There he became acquainted with Ravel, Milhaud, Honeggerand other established composers. His works were soon adopted by Stokowski,Koussevitsky and Mengelberg, and his world-wide tours began. During World WarII he lived in and worked in the United States, returning to Paris in 1946. Itwas in the early 1920s that he met Andr?¿s Segovia who, though he was seekingnew works for the guitar, was aware of Tansman's ability to write in anymusical language from the romantic to atonality; as a dyed-in-the-woolromantic, this made Segovia apprehensive. Thus, when he asked Tansman for awork he added: "first wipe your pen clean" before writing for the guitar. From hisfirst response (the Mazurka of 1925) onward Tansman did as he was asked. TheCavatina (1950) is a suite of dances which recalls but does not quote frommusic of earlier times, albeit in Tansman's own economical terms. The Danzapomposa was added later, to provide a stronger ending to the work.
Roland Dyens was born in Tunis but musically educated inFrance. As a guitarist he has won many international awards and gained a widereputation as an improviser, an aptitude that may stem from his ethnic origin sinceextemporisation is the essence of middle-eastern music. The French word ska?»means 'artifical leather' - something glossy, cheap and cheerful, and not quitethe real thing. As used in his best-known work, Tango en ska?», the Valse enska?» proclaims it a good-natured parody of the real and familiar thing - thewaltz.
The distinguished Russian composer Igor Rekhin was born inTambov. He studied composition with Aram Khachaturian in Moscow, compositionand musicology with Vladimir Tystovich and Alexander Pen-Chernov in StPetersburg (formerly Leningrad), and took a post-graduate course in the MoscowPedagogical Institute. He is the author of many reviews and articles, hasproduced many programmes for radio, worked extensively as a teacher and a jurorin many national and international competitions, and has been awarded a numberof honours. His compositional output covers music for a very wide range ofmedia, including a wide variety of works for and involving the guitar. DimitriIllarionov gave the European premi?¿re of his Second Guitar Concerto in Gdanskin 2001. The 24 Preludes and Fugues (1984-90), the only such cycle to bewritten for the guitar, were dedicated to and first performed by VladimirTervo. Rekhin says of it "I did my best to capture the ideas of contemporarymusical culture and condense them into a cycle. I often consciously admixed theclassical and avant-garde and united them with elements of jazz, rock music andLatin-American rhythms". It remains only to say that they represent a severe test,musical and technical, for the performer.
It was with his ground-breaking suite The Prince's Toys thatthe Russian guitarist-composer Nikita Koshkin first presented himself to theguitar's world as a composer of great imagination, with a taste for programmaticmusic (often involving fairy tales and mystical creatures) and for his skilfuluse of special effects, to the armoury of which he has contributed liberally.Marionette was composed as the set piece in the senior division of acompetition in Voronezh in 1996. It depicts the jerky, un-smooth movements of apuppet. Koshkin says "That is all I can say. The rest is in the music". We maysafely leave it at that.
Many years ago I ran a correspondence course which,according to one overseas subscriber "renders the execution of difficultyeasily". So successful was Paganini in creating this impression in hisperformances that his listeners believed he was in league with the devil. It isto this that the title of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Capriccio diabolico(Homage to Paganini) (1935) refers. It also relates to those passages in thework which frame others of tranquillity and more lyrical grace than Paganiniever achieved. One of these foreshadows the mood of the slow movement of hisGuitar Concerto No.1 (1939). In a passage near the end there is a quotationfrom Paganini's La Campanella, in which Castelnuovo-Tedesco makes his onlydirect reference to the work's dedicatee.
Although Francisco Tarrega, the so-called father of themodern guitar, wrote many charming and beautifully constructed miniatures, hislarger works were designed rather to impress the audiences in the salons thatwere his usual habitat. His sets of variations, including those on The Carnivalof Venice, a theme much beloved by cornet players, deploy a range of thespecial effects of which the guitar is capable, a few of which are of dubiousmusical value. These works were doubtless greatly enjoyed in the salons, buttoday, as here, they serve to show just how far guitar music has progressed inthe last century. You may enjoy this present one in much the same way as youwould when watching gondoliers 'accidentally' fall into the canals during thereal-life Carnival of Venice.
Dimitri Illarionov is one of the most brilliant classicalguitarists of his country. In 1997 he graduated with honours from the AcademicMusic College at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he studied withNatalia Dmitrieva, continuing at the Russian Gnesin Academy with the famousperformer and professor Alexander Frauchi. In 2002 he graduated there summa cumlaude, and since October 2002 he has served as an assistant to ProfessorFrauchi. Dimitri Illarionov won the Grand Prix in the VIth InternationalPromotional Competition Guitar Talents' Review (Gdansk, Poland, 1999) and thetitle of The Greatest Hope in the Xth Gdansk Meeting of Guitarists. In 2000 hewon the First Prize in the most prestigious Russian International Guitar Competition,Guitar in Russia (Voronezh, Russia). He is the laureate of numerousinternational competitions. His awards include the Second Prize in the IIIrdInternational Competition of Musical Personalities Alexander Tansman (Lodz,Poland, 2000), laureate of the VIIth International Classic Guitar CompetitionPrintemps de la guitare 2000 (Charleroi-Seneffe, Belgium), laureate of t