Guitar Recital: Fabio Zanon (Fabio Zanon) (Naxos: 8.554431)
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Francisco Tárrega was born in Spain in 1852 at a time when the guitar was in decline. At first he was pointed towards a career as a pianist, and studied the instrument at the Madrid Conservatoire. The reason for the decline was the high impact of the piano compared with the weak guitar. Tárrega was, however, to hear a new guitar of a volume and impact never before achieved, and decided to concentrate his career in this field. He was to become the most brilliant virtuoso of the instrument in the late 19th century, to such an extent that he saw the re-birth of the guitar. He composed a large number of original works for the instrument, and made a vast number of transcriptions. His own works were often cameos, as short as the nineteen second Prelude which opens this disc.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born in 1685 and was part of a long line of a Bach family that had been kapellmeisters and cantors since the middle of the 16th century. He was to become a celebrated church organist, holding several major appointments in Arnstadt, Weimar and Mhlhausen over the next twenty years. Throughout the period he was busy composing, but it was after 1723, when he moved to Leipzig to take charge of church music there, that the deluge of compositions emerged. He left an enormous catalogue of works, much of it sacred though he was active outside of the church and wrote a large number of concertos, orchestral works, and solo scores for clavichord, violin and cello. One of his finest was the series of sonatas for solo violin, here transcribed for guitar by the soloist.
Alexandre de Faria was born in Brazil in 1972, and was trained in London. He was the winner of the Segovia International Composition Competition in 1996. Fabio Zanon commissioned this very modern approach to the guitar, his inspiration being a poem from Faria's brother, Fernando, 'Eyes of a Recollection'.
Johann Kaspar Mertz was born in Hungary in 1806, and became a significant composer for the guitar. He was to make a collection of a large series of works under the title, Opern-Revue, in which he transcribed opera music for guitar. In the Lucia work he used the last tenor aria as the basis of his work.
Manuel Maria Ponce was born in a small provincial Mexican town in 1882, to modestly prosperous parents. He was musically very gifted, and was taken to Mexico City to study piano and composition. He soon outstripped the educational potential in Mexico, and moved to Italy and Germany to complete his studies. It was a meeting with the famous guitarist, Andrés Segovia, in 1923, that persuaded Ponce to write for the instrument, though the composer had no detailed knowledge of the instrument. The Thème Varié et Finale was one of his most outstanding works, placing the guitar on a high status.
Fabio Zanon was a pupil of his father in Brazil before completing his education at the University in Sao Paulo. He then moved to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. A relaunch of his career at London's Wigmore Hall met with very favourable reviews, and the following year he was the First Prizewinner in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition. He is associated with the music of Villa-Lobos, and has apparently recorded the composer's complete guitar works, though the discs are not available on international release. Indeed this disc, in the Naxos 'Laureate Series', is his only disc in world-wide circulation.
Made by the recording producer described as \the number one in the guitar world", John Taylor, in the Parish Church of Holy Trinity, Weston, England, in August 1997.
The Trrega, Bach and Ponce are well represented in the catalogue, but the disc is intended to introduce to the world a new and important newcomer to the world of outstanding musicians.