Unlike the majority
of releases in a most welcome series
for the classical guitar, this particular
one comprises all transcriptions and
from one composer.
Over the past century
an ever increasing number of high quality
original works for the guitar have appeared.
However the instrument still relies
fairly heavily on transcriptions for
its substantive repertoire. The names
of Albeniz and Granados are well represented
but it is the genius of J.S. Bach which
is also deeply rooted in the classical
While the Sonata in
G Minor BWV 1001, (transposed A Minor)
has been recorded many times by guitarists,
it is refreshing to see other works
appearing for the first time. Not all
transcriptions work well but the adaptation
by Voorhorst of the Harpsichord Concerto
BWV 974 is a notable exception.
The Voorhorst’s musicianship
is evident from the first track and
it is not surprising to learn that he
is an enthusiastic chamber musician,
a violinist and also a viola player.
As a guitarist he is
very capable and ranks with the best
I have heard on record. The "acid
test" of course is live performance
where the ear is subjected to the unembellished
truth. All pieces on this disc are executed
with conviction and strong rhythmic
drive. Mr Voorhorst’s tone is excellent
and his phrasing laudable. Of particular
note is the attention to ornamentation
with beautiful cross-string trills (executed
between two strings rather than on one),
redolent of the Japanese master Kazuhito
Yamashita (RCA-RL 70847)
Thank you Naxos for
listing the instrument used on the recording,
in this case a 1963 Jose Ramirez. It
reminded this writer of a particularly
fine Ramirez (1963) used by Andrès
Segovia and now in the Ramirez family
private collection. By any standard
this is an outstanding instrument, the
full resources of which are capably
explored by Voorhorst.
Although recorded in
a different venue, utilizing different
technical and support staff to most
other discs in this series, the sonic
properties retain the high standards
which have become a hallmark of the
Naxos Guitar Collection.
This is a recording
the enjoyment of which will increase
with repeated listening
I mention the next
point last because it is the least important
and significant although reference to
it in a critical context occurs with
monotonous regularity in reviews of
On certain tracks the
astute listener will be aware of string
noises or squeaks. These are generated
by the rapid movement of fingers on
the three lower strings which are metal
wound on nylon filament. Some brands
of strings have a greater propensity
for generating these sounds, as do some
particular instruments. The professional
player will consciously work toward
minimising this sound, which for the
uninitiated, and those less familiar
with the instrument, can be distracting.
Modern recording techniques are also
used in minimisation but in live performances
it will always be present.
Some reviewers claim
it to be absent on certain CDs, e.g.
Naxos 8.557294 ‘Anabel Montesinos -
Guitar Recital’, but on careful listening
string squeak will always, to some degree,
be heard. As often inferred, it is not
an index of excellence in technique.
To offer it as such and in a critical
context is inappropriate because in
similar vein to the mechanical sounds
generated by some wind instrument mechanisms,
it is characteristic of the instrument.
Even the great master Andrès
Segovia could not avoid it - watch the
Christopher Nupen film " The Song
of the Guitar", Teldec 9031-70773-3.
The magnificent Ana Vidovic also joins
the throng of "squeakers"-
listen to her 7 January 2004 recital
at the JFK Centre of Performing Arts
linked to her website.
see also review
by Arthur Baker