Transcribing to the guitar, music written for the piano is not uncommon;
in particular some of the piano works of Albeniz and Granados have proved
to be more popular in guitar transcription than in their original form.
The idiomatic nature of the music and the earthiness of the guitar working
This 3 CD set of the complete Mazurkas of Chopin played
on the guitar is another matter entirely, whereas the quality of the
music is without question (Chopin has gone down in history as one of
the finest composers for the piano of his, or any generation) not much
of his music sits well on the guitar. Andrès Segovia, and in
particular Mario Parodi, have recorded some pieces of Chopin, (MPF 2140
LP) but by and large guitarists have avoided committing his music to
Judging by his inlay notes Stephen Aron shows a genuine
enthusiasm for this music and justifies his reasons for undertaking
this highly ambitious project. As he states, this is the first recording
of all the Mazurkas of Chopin on the guitar. There are therefore no
comparisons recordings and the disc has to be judged on its own merits.
That said Iím afraid these performances donít really do justice to the
music. Aronís right hand finger attack on the strings is untidy and
at times rather naily. This makes for a not altogether pleasant sound.
His left hand shifts are guilty of string noise that, given todayís
standards of technique, is unacceptable. Added to this he uses a limited
tonal palette which becomes monotonous very quickly (let alone over
the duration of three discs). Much of the form and vitality of the Mazurkas
is lost in subdued, unconvincing playing of this music. That is not
to say that at times Stephen Aron does not have some good ideas on interpretation
Ö he just does not have the level of technique to execute them; to make
you want to listen.
All in all this is an example of music that is best
left as the composer intended.
I must say though that the presentation of this set
is first class with a most concise explanation by Brooks Toliver, which
provides a valuable insight to the music.