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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    


20th Century Variations
Carlo DOMENICOMI (b.1947)
Variations after an Anatolian folk song
Manuel Maria PONCE (1882-1948)
Folia de España
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
Nocturnal Op.70 (after John Dowland)
Dale Kavanagh (guitar)
HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 98.350 [48:53]

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There are only three works on this disc; and what works! Two of them are already acknowledged as major warhorses of the guitar’s repertoire (as for the other we will have to wait and see). The "Folias de España" of Ponce has long been a tour de force, taxing the player’s technique and powers of interpretation. John Williams’ 1978 recording of the piece set the terms of engagement, but generally today’s standards of musicianship are higher so it is not surprising to hear guitarists produce fine recordings of this work. Dale Kavanagh’s is no exception with strong tones and good projection being the hallmarks of her playing. Yet at the same she can be most lyrical, as demonstrated in track 6, (variations 5-10) thus making it one of the better versions of recent years.

If Williams’ recording of "Folias" was the version to aspire to, then Julian Bream’s recordings of Britten’s "Nocturnal" (he recorded it twice: first in 1966 and then again in 1992) must hold a similar status; after all Bream was the dedicatee. Dale Kavanagh again shows herself to be her own woman with her interpretation of this complex work. She clocks in at 16:32, as opposed to Bream’s 18:22 and 18:33, which suggests a more forward thrust in her playing. Of course tempo is not everything and Kavanagh displays an individual view of the nuances of sleep patterns created within Britten’s composition.

Carlo Domeniconi has fast gained himself a reputation for imaginative compositions for the guitar, many of them fiendishly difficult. I first remember his "Variations on an Anatolian folk song" being played by David Russell some years ago at Chesterfield Art College, and being more than suitably impressed by the imaginativeness of the work then. Hearing Kavanagh playing the piece on this disc has not diminished my opinion of it.

Throughout this disc Dale Kavanagh shows herself to be an artist of consummate quality.
Andy Daly

 

 



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SOUND SAMPLES
(minimum 30 secs)

C. DOMENICONI
Variationen uber ein anatolisches Volkslied

Thema
Variationen 1-5
Finale

M-M. PONCE
Folia de Espana

Theme
Var. 1-4
Var. 5-10
Var. 11-15
Var. 16-20

B. BRITTEN
Nocturnal op.70 after John Dowland

Musingly (Meditativo)
Very agitated (Molto agitato)
Restless (Inquieto)
Uneasy (Ansioso)
March-like (Quasi una Marchia)
Dreaming (Sognante)
Gently rocking (Cullante)
Passacaglia (Misurato)
Slow and quiet (molto tranquillo)






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