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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.

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Mauro GIULIANI
Guitar Music Vol.1 – Variations
Variations on a Theme from the opera "Fanchon", Op.88
Variations on a Theme by Paisiello, Op.4
Variations on "Folies d’Espagne", Op.45
Variations on a Theme by Handel, Op.107
Variations on a March by Cherubini, Op.110
Pot- Pourri Nazional Romano, Op.108
Variations on a Theme from Rossini’s opera "Tancredi", Op.87
Rec 2001?
Ricardo Gallén – Guitar
NAXOS 8.555284 [69:12]


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After his impressive first recording for Naxos, which consisted of mainly 20th century works, namely those of Leo Brouwer and Toru Takemitsu, Ricardo Gallén proves that he can turn his hand (or should that be ‘hands’) to the classicism of the Viennese school of guitar players. He does so with this collection of variations by the immensely talented guitarist/composer Mauro Giuliani. Famous in his lifetime as a virtuoso guitarist, the music abounds in flights of virtuosic display but is not without its moments of sensitivity and wit, all of which Ricardo Gallén handles in a most stylish way. In this he is aided by a copy of a 19th century guitar by Lourdes Uncilla. He succeeds in capturing the period well.

Three of the works are based on themes from operas; this practice seems to have been most common for musicians of the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the most popular of these is "Nel cor piu non mi sento" from Act II of the comic opera "La Molinara" by Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816). This was used by such notable composers as Beethoven and Paganini as well as the prominent guitar composer Fernando Sor (1786-1838). The closing work on the disc uses a theme from Rossini’s opera "Tancredi" and reinforces Giuliani’s admiration for that composer’s work, as he wrote a number of pieces that bear the name "Rossiniana"(Opus 119-121) in honour of the great operatic composer.

Another popular theme for composers was that of the "Folies d’Espagne", again Fernando Sor was inspired to write a work based on this simple but effective chord progression, as did the Mexican, Manuel Ponce (1882-1948), who dedicated his working of the piece to the celebrated guitarist Andrès Segovia, Giuliani’s version is short but very much to the point and is for me one of the most memorable moments of the disc.

All in all Mauro Giuliani is generally known for only a handful of guitar compositions from his quite sizeable output but this disc, which I presume to be the first in a series, will go a long way in opening up for us his more obscure works.

Andy Daly

 


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