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Guitar Recital: Ricardo Gallen (Bonnie Silver/ Ricardo Gallen) (Naxos: 8.554832)



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Guitar Recital -Ricardo Gallen



Like so many musicians of his generation, Ricardo Gallen has a keeninterest in new and contemporary music for his instrument. In this mainlytwentieth-century recital, he presents some works which are well known, such asthe Rodrigo and Tarrega, some which are less often heard but are significantcontributions to the guitar repertoire, and others, written by close associatesof the artist, which are recorded here for the first time. Gallen approachesthis rich and varied program with a mixture of panache and sensitivity thatbrings forth all of the interest, colour, and texture of these works.



After a bright, enunciatory opening, Joaquin Rodrigo's En LosTrigales (In the Wheatfields), gives way to a gentle dance suggestive ofthe swaying grasses. Written in 1939, it is part of a set of 3 short piecesentitled \Por los Campos de Espana" - brief musical sketches of theSpanish countryside.



Guitarresca by Joaquin Clerch was written in 1989?¡-90, as a 'test piece' for theHavana Guitar Festival Competition Clerch, himself an accomplished guitaristand composer born in Cuba, employs short repeated motivic figures to greateffect in this demanding work, such as are ubiquitous in the music of Brouwer,Farinas, Orbon, and other Cuban guitarist-composers.



Darius Milhaud belongs to a surprisingly large group of composers whoeach wrote but one piece for the solo guitar, along with de Falla, Ibert,Britten, Ginastera, and many others. It seems that Andr?¿s Segovia, thededicatee of Segviana, never played the piece, judging by the lack ofany fingerings or editorial markings in the score. Rapid melismatic flourishespunctuated by powerful chords suggest the guitar's flamenco heritage, presentedin the musical language of the composer of Saudads and Scaramouche.



Just as many earlier guitarist-composers such as Giuliani, Sor, Tarregaand Villa-Lobos, Cuban born Leo Brouwer has played a significant role in thedevelopment of his instrument's repertoire, technique, and compositionalpotential. Throughout his nearly half century of composition, Brouwer hasexhibited a wide variety of styles and influences, however all of his music isimbued with aspects of Afro-Cuban folkloric origin.



The Sonata (1990) is dedicated to Julian Bream and is Brouwer'sonly work with this title. Each of its three movements pays homage to pastcomposers. The first, "Fandangos y Boleros" contains aquote from Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, and bears a note in the score fromBrouwer Beethoven visita al Padre Soler. Unlike traditional sonata form,with its two themes and restatement, this movement features several briefmotifs with very distinct dramatic 'personalities'. A short, improvisatory Preambulois followed by a more measured Danza, in which all of the motiviccharacters reappear in continual argument. The performer's challenge here is tobalance and juggle all of these, (much as a puppeteer), through the strings ofhis guitar. The second movement, "Sarabanda de Scriabin" is built on athree note ostinato stated in the opening measures. Two thematic elements areintroduced: the first, a four note fragment which is repeated and extended,reappears in various registers of the guitar. The second is a slow, meanderingarpeggio, also traversing nearly all of the guitar's fingerboard. The movementspins a hypnotic, somewhat eerie web, reminiscent of Scriabin's Piano SonataNo. 9, or Ravel's Le Gibet.



The ebullient "La Toccala de Pasquini" ends the work in abrilliant display of virtuosity - a clear nod to the vigorous style of theseventeenth-century harpsichord composers. Pasquini's Cuckoo makesseveral appearances, as do themes from earlier movements of this Sonata.



Hika {1996), an elegy "In Memoriam" to friend and colleague, TōruTakemitsu, bears the same title as a 1966 violin and piano piece by Takemitsu. Brouwerdescribes Takemitsu as "one of the geniuses of the twentieth century... a greatfriend whose talent I cannot stop admiring". After a delicate, sparsely writtenopening, a scurrying velocissimo section forms the central part of thepiece. Here Brouwer inserts a favourite Bulgarian folk theme, that he had usedin other works, such as his Tr?¿s Apuntes, and the Estudios Sencills.



Regarded as Japans' leading composer, and the first to have made a majorcompositional impact on the West, Tōru Takemitsu was largely self-trained.

His music displays numerous Western influences at the same time as Japaneseelements. One senses, however, thatTakemitsu keeps East and West somewhat distinct, rather than trying to mergethem.



Takemitsu's unique treatment of the guitar's sonority is evident fromhis earliest piece, Folios (1974). His use of the subtle colour effectsof harmonics pitted against natural notes of the same pitch, as well asspecified fingering positions for exact timbre effects, demonstrate aninfinitely inward view of the guitar. The author explains, "The title waschosen while thinking of the piece of paper that one folds to make two pages.

The work itself is thus a series of several pieces written on these pages... FolioI manifests an obvious melodic will; Folio II evoke, the rain and isbased on a rhythmic structure of 3 + 4 units; Folio III is an elegy thatincludes a quotation from The Passion According to Saint Matthew."



Equinox (1993) shares some of the tonal and motivic language of Toward theSea for flute and guitar. Dark, haunting, and full of premonition, Equinoxmay serve as the composer's own elegy.



Cuban-born guitarist, composer, and conductor Flores Chaviano has livedin Spain since 1981, where he is a professor at the Conservatorio Superior deMadrid. The three pieces heard here offer brief glimpses of Chaviano'sCubau heritage. The Sonata is a "Guajira" with its alternating3/4 and 6/8 meter; Evocacion is a seductive tango or habanera;and Boceto, a whimsical sketch, full of angular rhythms, strummingand drumming effects.



The CD concludes with two gentle preludes by the romantic master of theguitar, Francisco Tarrega, after whom is named the renowned guitar competitionin the Spanish city of Benicasim. Ricardo Gallen was the competition's winnerin 1999.

"
Facts
Item number 8554832
Barcode 636943483220
Release date 01/12/2000
Category Instrumental | Classical Music
Label Naxos Classics | Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Ricardo Gallen
Composers Toru Takemitsu
Leo Brouwer
Joaquin Clerch
Francisco Tarrega
Darius Milhaud
Flores Chaviano
Joaquin Rodrigo
Producers Bonnie Silver
Disc: 1
En Los Trigales
1 En Los Trigales
Guitarresca
2 Guitarresca
Segoviana
3 Segoviana
Sonata
4 I. 'Fandangos y Boleros'
5 II. 'Sarabanda de Scriabin'
6 III. 'La Toccata de Pasquini'
Hika
7 Hika
Folios
8 I. -
9 II. -
10 III. -
Equinox
11 Equinox
Sonata
12 Sonata
Evocacion
13 Evocacion
Boceto
14 Boceto
Preludio No. 2
15 Preludio No. 2
Preludio No. 5
16 Preludio No. 5
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