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Artist Portrait - Sharon Isbin (Guitar)

WARNER CLASSICS 2564-61591-2 [79:15] 

1-3) Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto in D Major RV 93 [11:42]
4) Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Aranjuez, ma pensee [6:15]
5) Regino Sainz de la MAZA (1896-1981) Zapateado [2:24]
6) Antonio LAURO (1917-1986) Waltz No. 3 (Natalia) [2:24]
7) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) (Transcribed by Rosalyn Tureck/fingering by Sharon Isbin) Keyboard Concerto in F minor BWV 1056: II Adagio [2:52]
8) Laurindo ALMEIDA (1917-1995) Historia do Luar (Chôro) [2:09]
9) Gaudencio Thiago de MELLO (b. 1933) Chôro Alegre (A Hug for Tiberio) [1:43]
10) John Jacob NILES (1892-1980) Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair [3:38]
11) John Jacob NILES (1892-1980) Go ‘way from my Window [3:23]
12) Tan DUN (b. 1957) Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra: I Rubato [8:02]
13) Tommaso ALBINONI (1671-1751)/Remo Giazotto (Arr. John Duarte) Adagio [7:52]
14) Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Londonderry Air [ 3:47]
15) Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909) Recuerdos de la Alhambra [4:11]
16) Jean-Paul MARTINI (1741-1816) Plaisir d’Amour [3:54]
17) Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang: No. 4 "Ständchen" [3:56]
18) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) (Arr. John Duarte) Cantata BWV 147: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring [2:58]
19) Christopher ROUSE (b. 1949) Concert de Gaudi for Guitar and Orchestra: I Allegro [7:58]
Sharon Isbin, guitar; Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Howard Griffiths (1-3, 7, 13, 18) / Susanne Mentzer, Mezzo-Soprano (4, 10-11, 16-17) / Thiago de Mello, percussion (6, 8, 9) / Gulbenkian Orchestra, Muhai Tang (12, 19)
Recording Locations: Harmolodic, New York, New York, May/June 1997 (6, 8, 9); American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, New York, 25-29 March 1998 (4-5, 10-11, 16-17); Teldec Studio, Berlin, March 1999 (14-15); Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium, Lisbon, May 2000 (12, 19); ZHO-Haus, Zurich, 15-18 October 2002 (1-3, 7, 13, 18)

This extremely well filled, eclectic and diverse CD shows off Sharon Isbin's artistry extremely well. Its diversity of styles is proven by the range of Bach (2nd movement from keyboard concerto in F, BWV 1056 and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, from Cantata no 147) and Vivaldi (Concerto in D RV 93) selections on the one hand and Tan Dun's modern (first movement from his guitar concerto) and Christopher Rouse's equally new (first movement from his "Concert de Gaudi") selections on the other. This later piece rounds off the recital with real panache. Music of all periods is performed with great éclat and élan. Mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer sings Rodrigo's "Aranjuez, ma pensée" as well as "Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair" and Martini's "Plaisir d'amour". She sings them as beautifully as I have heard by any other singer, with the possible exception of Nana Mouskouri. Her vocal selections are also interspersed throughout the album in a most effective manner. Zapateado by Regino Sainz de la Maza is despatched with just the right amount of breeziness as are all the short "etudelike" pieces. The great guitar virtuoso Laurindo Almeida is represented by a short but jazzy Choro "Historia do Luar"; while another Choro Alegre (A hug for Tiberio) by Gaudencio Thiago de Mello is dashed off with great effusiveness. Albinoni's alleged "Adagio" is rendered with much pathos as is Tarrega's romantic "Recuerdos de la Alhambra".  Toru Takemitsu's almost bluesy "Londonderry Air" provides a piquant mid-point for the entire recital. Altogether, this is an excellent representation of Ms. Isbin's artistry. Definitely recommended.  

Gregory W. Stouffer

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