> Popular Guitar Classics Byzantine [GPJ]: Classical Reviews- May2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Albéniz arr. Byzantine: Suite española No.1; Rumores de la Caleta
Albéniz: Torre bermeja
Torroba: Madroños
Tárrega:- Capricho árabe; La Alborada
Lauro: Vals venezolana no.3
Villa-Lobos: Chôro no.1 in G; Prelude no.1 in e minor; Prelude no.2 in E; Study no.1 in e minor
Rodrigo: En los trigales
Borges: Vals venezolano
Granados: Andaluza
Malats: Serenata española

Falla: ‘The Three-cornered Hat’: The Corregidor’s Dance and The Miller’s Dance
Julian Byzantine (guitar)
Recorded Wigmore Hall, London, May 1981, Habberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School Elstree, April 1990, St.Dunstan’s, Cheam, December 1974
EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 7243 5 75140 2 6 [73:43]


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The Australian guitarist Julian Byzantine is a well-known and widely respected player. This CD is a compilation of fairly old recordings, mostly from 1981, and includes a number of ‘core repertoire’ pieces, like the opening Albeniz Suite and the Villa-Lobos Preludes. Many of the other pieces are fairly familiar, too, such as the haunting En los Trigales of Rodrigo, the Granados Andaluza, or the music from Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat, though it isn’t made clear who made these arrangements of piano or orchestral music.

One or two pieces were unknown to me, particularly the Lauro and Borges items, but there is a sense of a common style and heritage to all the music here, and these are attractive, undemanding works. The Borges Vals, in particular, is a real charmer that I was delighted to have become acquainted with.

Byzantine plays with unfailing style and musicianship, and is technically well on top of the music. He also produces some fascinating uses of special tone-colour, most notably in the little descending passages in Tárrega’s La Alborada, where he achieves a magical faraway metallic effect, like a mandolin heard in the distance.

An undemanding but very pleasing and well executed selection. Well recorded too, so that usual problems with guitar music of noisy shifts (no reflection on the player – they’re pretty well unavoidable) are not unpleasantly distracting.

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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