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SFZ Records

Johannes Möller plays Spanish Music
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Homenaje pour le tombeau de Claude Debussy (1920) [3:20];
Junto al Generalife (1959) [4:56]; En los trigales (1938) [4:51];
Antonio JOSÉ
Sonata (1933) [21:24];
Eduardo SAINZ de la MAZA
Campanas del alba (1962) [3:52]; Homenaje a Toulouse-Lautrec (1967) [5:18];
Francisco TÁRREGA
Preludio número 1 (1899) [1:32]; La alborada (1891) [1:46]; Preludio número 2 (1899) [2:18]; Recuerdos de la Alhambra (1897) [5:22]
Johannes Möller (guitar)
rec. Studio 3, Radio House, Stockholm, 2–3 April, 2–3 July 2005. DDD
SFZ RECORDS CD SFZ 6014 [54:44]



The young Swedish guitarist Johannes Möller (born 1981) made his debut at the age of 13 and since then has performed in many European countries plus Canada and the USA. He studied with Roland Fridh and Bo Hansson in his native country and later earned a Bachelor of Music with Honours from the Royal College of Music, where his teachers were Gary Ryan and Carlos Bonell. This is his first solo CD but he has made several recordings with his father, flautist Mats Möller, who is also the producer of this recording.

On this hearing he is already a mature artist with excellent technique and as recorded here produces so beautiful a tone that I had to dig deep in my guitar collection to find something comparable. He is also a stylish musician with feeling for the musical phrase. Inquiring readers should try the final piece on this disc, the old war-horse Recuerdos de la Alhambra, where the tremolo playing is absolutely spotless and he finds the right ebb and flow that allows the music to unfold naturally and alive without any superimposed accents or inflexions. This also goes for de Falla’s only composition for guitar, the Homage to Debussy. In Rodrigo’s contemplative Junto al Generalife he savours the beautiful sounds, while En los trigales mixes the swagger of the flamenco rhythms and a more reflective inwardness.

At the centre of the recital is the four movement Sonata by Antonio José, who was executed by Falangists in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. It is a many-faceted composition. The first movement has a certain improvisatory character with sudden changes of mood. The short minuet seems to be searching for a tonal centre while the third movement Pavana triste makes some efforts to get rid of the melancholy but ultimately capitulates. The final movement, though, is filled with rhythms and unbending energy. A fascinating composition that requires to be heard, especially when played as superbly as it is here.

The almost contemporaneous Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, who was vouchsafed a much longer life, liked to explore the possibilities of tremolo, as in the beautiful Campanas del alba, a piece that should be heard more often. There is a sweetness of melody that bears a certain likeness to Tarrega. The tribute to the painter Toulouse-Lautrec is bolder, more syncopated but also imbued with a melancholy that reflects the personality of its dedicatee.

The recording team have caught Johannes Möller’s beautiful tone to perfection and it is a tribute to both technicians and player that there is not a single extraneous noise on the disc; rare indeed with guitar recordings.

There is a cornucopia of immaculately executed and artistically superb music-making on this disc which can be recommended, also for some rarely encountered music.

Göran Forsling



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