Music by Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO
Text by Juan Ramón JIMÉNEZ (1881-1958)
The Crazy Man
The Canary's Flight
To Platero, in the Heaven of Moguer
This delightful disc is a collaboration of five artists of five different
but related art forms: poet, composer, musician, storyteller and singer.
The poet, Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958), was highly regarded
in his native Spain (he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956).
His output of over twenty five volumes, contained a work of prose 'Platero
y Yo', within which we hear the speaker relate to Platero, his faithful ever
attentive donkey, his inner-most thoughts and feelings whilst they go about
their everyday business in the Spanish village of Moguer. The strong bond
between master and donkey soon becomes apparent.
In 1960 the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895 - 1968) set
twenty-eight verses of 'Platero y Yo' to music for guitar. During the 1960's
and 70's Andres Segovia included some of them in concert programmes, also
recording a number, but without narrator. Now, thanks to guitarist Frank
Koonce and storyteller Don Doyle, we have the first recording in English
of seventeen verses of 'Platero y Yo - Platero and I'.
Frank Koonce has produced on this disc some of the most beautiful playing
and refined sound I have heard recently, always supporting the narration
of Don Doyle and both of them exploiting the delicate nuances of interplay
between score and text. This is further augmented by the occasional contribution
of the soprano, Sherrie Grieve, singing in Spanish some of the more poignant
moments beneath the spoken words. The collaboration has resulted in a most
satisfying, charming experience. Whilst recognising that this may not be
to everyone's taste I'm sure it represents a milestone in the repertoire
of guitar and literature together.
The wide variety of music contained in these four discs from 'Soundset Recording'
and the quality of the recorded sound should be applauded, the classical
guitar being notoriously difficult to do justice to. Rather than settle on
a 'house sound' it seems each recording has been tailored to the individual
requirements of the artists and the music they are presenting, producers
Todd Hallewell and Frank Koonce have done an excellent job.