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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



JONATHAN RICHARDS
LATIN-AMERICAN GUITAR GEMS
from Brazil
1. Prelude No.1 in E minor Heitor Villa-Lobos
2. Se ela Perguntar Valsa Lento Dilermando Reis
3. Nesta Rua Trad. Arr. Terence Croucher
4. Sons de Carrilhoes Joao Pernambuco
5. South American Sketch No.1 Jonathan Richards
6. Carnavalito John Zaradin
7. Chôro Mario Gangi
8. Chôrinho Pierre Lerich
9. A Garden Gnome in Rio "from Fingers Dance" George Lawall
from Paraguay
10. Julia Florida Barcarola Agustin Barrios
11. Villancico de Navidad Christmas Card Agustin Barrios
12. Minueto en Do Minuet in C Agustin Barrios
13. La Tejedora de Nanduti Trad. Arr. Terence Croucher
from Mexico
14. Por ti mi Corazon Cancion No.2 Manuel Ponce
15. Ondulando Jesus Benites
from Venezuela
16. El Negrito Antonio Lauro
17. Cancion Trad. Arr. Terence Croucher
from Peru
18. De Aquel Cerro Verde Trad. Arr. Terence Croucher
from Cuba
19. Sarabanda "from Little Suite" Harold Gramatges
20. Cancion de Cuna Sur un Theme de Grenet Leo Brouwer
from Chile
21. La India Trad. Arr. Nicholas Hooper
22. Te Damas Gracias Trad. Arr. Terence Croucher
from Argentina
23. Prelude and Dance No.5
In Celebration of Atahualpa Yupanqui
Terence Croucher
24. Estilo Mansilla Quijano
SAIN SCD2298 [56:56]

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My first review for this website in 1999 was that of a disc of Jonathan Richards, "Elegy-20th Century British Guitar Music"(Divine Art 25008) and was, as the title describes, a thoroughly English affair. Now Richards has turned his attention to the music of South America, covering six of the countries of that continent: Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru, Chile and Argentina. There is a Central American supplement from Mexico and Cuba. The programme is punctuated with familiar works by well-known composers, but for the most part consists of pieces by less familiar names and traditional pieces arranged by Terence Croucher and Nicholas Hooper. The result is a most satisfactory blend.

In the case of Brazil, of the ten selections Villa-Lobos is, surprisingly, allotted only one work "Prelude No.1". The majority goes to non-Brazilian composers John Zaradin (England) and Mario Gangi (Italy) etc., who use Brazilian forms such as the Chôro to showcase their own individual musical ideas within these contexts. Jonathan Richards himself contributes an original work "South American Sketch No.1" in the Brazilian section. The music from Paraguay is understandably dominated by Agustin Barrios, the interpretation of which seems to be a benchmark to the skills of the guitarist. It is undeniably attractive. Regular favourites, Antonio Lauro and Leo Brouwer are here too, representing Venezuela and Cuba respectively

Jonathan Richards employs a very direct approach. His playing is consistently spontaneous throughout with none of the clinical feel of some recordings on offer today. This, together with the completely natural but for me slightly dry acoustic of the recorded sound, gives a very honest presentation of the guitarist. It does sound to me that for this recording Jonathan is using low-tension strings, which can sound very sweet but the effect lacks the punch and immediacy that is sometimes required with this type of music.

All told this is a pleasant collection, played in an unpretentious, but nicely stylish manner.

Andy Daly


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