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En Los Trigales
Sonata, Hika
Folios, Equinox
Sonata, Evocacion, Boceto
Preludio No.2, Preludio No.5

Ricardo Gallén - Guitar
Naxos 8.554832
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Apart from the well known Rodrigo and Tárrega pieces included on this disc the remaining works must be some of the most adventurous that Naxos has yet produced in their Guitar Collection Series. Most of the pieces were composed towards the latter years of the 20th century.

At the heart of the disc are works by Leo Brouwer and Toru Takemitsu, two composers held in high regard by guitarists and, in essence, reflect the best of modern compositions for the instrument. The three movement "Sonata" by Brouwer was commissioned by Julian Bream and it does seem that Brouwer did accommodate Breams individual approach to contemporary playing in the score. Nevertheless, Ricardo Gallén's rendition does show that the dedicatee does not have the monopoly on interpretation and Gallén presents us with his own solid vision of this powerful work. His grasp of texture and tone colour are evident in his playing of "Folios" and "Equinox" which are such an important ingredient in the music of Toru Takemitsu.

Probably the other most important composer included on this disc is Darius Milhuad. At 4 minutes 17 seconds "Segoviana" can only give us a glimpse of what Milhaud might have achieved given a broader canvas. As it is, it must be regarded as one of the most significant pieces in the established modern guitar repertoire.

Ricardo Gallén demonstrates a complete insight to all the music he plays on this disc. The timbres he uses are always intelligently employed (he milks the Tárrega to the limit, yet never to the extent of being schmaltzy) producing most evocative playing. I returned to this disc not in the capacity of a reviewer but to listen and enjoy it for its own sake; it is a current favourite.

Andy Daly

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