is a conductor of impeccable pedigree in the Czech repertoire
and does not disappoint in this collection of tonal, highly listenable
contemporary works for guitar and orchestra. The soloist Lubomír
Brabec also plays as if every note counts and the whole enterprise is
a winner from start to finish. The atmosphere of the music is broadly
neo-classical (hardly surprising with some of the titles) but runs the
whole gamut from near pastiche through Tippett-style dissonances to
something much more expressionist in Bodorová's closing vocal
Fišer's Leonardo and Tartini pieces take
the baroque as their inspiration but there is no doubting their contemporary
provenance, particularly in the (slightly) more abrasive elements of
the former. The composer regards the second section of the latter as
a "dialogue between himself and the great Italian composer" and it is
not difficult to accept this premise on the basis of the sublime music
contained therein, although later more astringent folk elements emerge.
Sylvie Bodorová is the youngest of the three
living composers featured and her works perhaps reflect that. The earlier
Tre Canzoni meld quite unobtrusively with the pieces by the other
composers, even considering the occasional use of folk motifs, but the
vocal piece goes some way beyond the scope of the rest of the disc.
Its beginning is about as avant-garde as this CD gets although
it ends in a fairly conventional, if emotional manner (Gorecki and Tavener
spring to mind).
Mácha's Christmas Concertino contains
some of the most immediately winning material presented here, with traditional
Czech carols to the fore but alongside inventive writing for the solo
instrument (the central Andante could almost be Finzi!). As always,
when assessing music for guitar and orchestra, the comparators tend
to be the ubiquitous Rodrigo and perhaps Leo Brouwer, and it has to
be said that the music on this disc, although perhaps a little more
conventional, is not overawed by this comparison.
Overall then, this is a disc that any guitar aficionado
would be happy to have in their collection and one that would appeal
to a wider audience too. Recommended!