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Miguel LLOBET (1878-1938)

Guitar Music: Scherzo Vals; Estudio Capricho Mazurka; 13 Catalan Folksongs; Respuesta (Impromptu); 5 Preludes; Mazurka for Federico Bufaletti; 4 Folksongs; Study in E Major; Romanza; Variations on a theme by Sor
Lorenzo Micheli (guitar)
Rec. Aula Magna, Seminario Arcivescovile, Ivrea (Turin) April, October 2002 DDD
NAXOS 8.557351 [73:42]


Miguel Llobet, a guitarist from Catalonia, was much more widely recognized as a performer than composer and he made the first electrical recordings of the classical guitar. In total, he published about 75 compositions of which 13 were original works. This seems to be the only available disc devoted exclusively to his music and is therefore welcome. Although Llobet absorbed influences from central Europe (suggested by Ronald Purcell in the booklet to be Chopin, Strauss and Wagner), his Spanish (or perhaps I should say Catalan) origins are invariably more prominent. He was taught by Felipe Pedrell (whose pupils also included de Falla, Granados and Albeniz) and his music seems to represent a logical progression from the works of Fernando Sor (1778-1839) and Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909).

Many of the Thirteen Catalan Folksongs sound familiar from other arrangements and contain wonderfully atmospheric melodies. The rest of the music is likely to be unfamiliar to most listeners and, whilst they are not masterpieces, these works are worth getting to know. As one might expect, this is not a taxing process – this is a disc to relax with at the end of a hard day. If you’re not convinced, try Respuesta or the Sor Variations.

Lorenzo Micheli is a persuasive advocate of the music and communicates well. He is quite closely recorded but, overall, the sound is acceptable. The documentation is good and price temptingly low.

A valuable addition to the catalogue - this is worth checking out.

Patrick C Waller

See also review by Andy Daly

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