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South American Guitar Classics
Manuel PONCE (b.1882)
Valse (arr. Segovia) (>1931) [2.56]
Preambulo e allegro (1931) [4.19]
Gavotte (<1931) [3.21]
Astor PIAZZOLA (1921 - 1992)
La Muerte del Angel (‘1960s’) [4.09]
Agustin BARRIOS [MANGORÉ] (1885 - 1944)
Mazurca appassionata (<1916) [5.10]
Danza Paraguaya (<1916) [2.20]
TremeloUna limosna por el amor de Dios” (1944) [3.42]
Tango No.2 (<1916) [3.27]
Study in A “Las Abejas” (<1916) [1.59]
Valse Op 8 No.3 (arr. Stover) [5.41]
Choro de Saudade (arr. Stover) [5.41]
Julia Florida (arr. Stover) (c.1932) [3.38]
Antonio LAURO (1917 - 1986)
Vals Venezolanos No.2 (1963) [1.32]
El Negrito (1968) [1.50]
El Marabino (1968) [1.22]
Dilermando REIS (1916 - 1977)
Si ela perguntar [3.01]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887 - 1959)
Five Preludes (1940): No.1 [4.18]; No.2 [3.00]; No.3 [6.30]; No.4 [3.14]; No.5 [4.09]
Marcelo Kayath, guitar
Rec. MAMP, Haberdasher’s Aske’s School, London, UK, 1987-1991
Notes in English.
REGIS RRC 1149 [75.19]


Comparison Recordings:

Barrios, guitar music Enno Voorhorst, Naxos 8.555718

Villa-Lobos, Preludes: Julian Bream [AAD] MCA MCAD2-9830

Villa-Lobos, Preludes. Fabio Zanon MusicMasters 01612-67188-2


Kayath can play two independent lines of counterpoint with astonishing clarity, and then add a third voice, all with very little of the scrapy finger noises which betray a struggle with the instrument. In addition Kayath plays with great verve and affect. This is some of the finest Piazzolla playing I’ve heard, with all of the subtlety, as well as bold rhythmic and sonic effects, one expects. 

Enno Voorhorst on this recording plays all different pieces by Barrios, concentrating on the scholarly and classical sounding, lyrical items, especially the unpublished ones which had to be restored from recordings. Kayath plays more of the published pieces, and especially those with identifiable South-American ethnic musical characteristics. 

Manuel Ponce identified with the great pre-baroque lutenist school. Almost all of his pieces have classical titles, and, like Fritz Kreisler, he occasionally “discovered” pieces by the great lute composers and performers, such as Sylvius Leopold Weiss. His colleagues teased him by referring to his “secret Weiss.” 

The Villa-Lobos Preludes are among the composer’s very finest works and have become cornerstones of the classical guitar repertoire because of their range, originality and difficulty. They obviously invite comparison with the Preludes of Chopin and ultimately those of Bach. Bream approaches the music as though it were in fact by Bach, playing the notes as written with no extra-musical presumptions. Utilising very close microphone technique he achieves extreme dynamic range, but as a consequence his recording has the most extraneous finger noise of all; plus, his harmonic notes sound excessively breathy. Both the Brazilian guitarists add considerable ethnic style to their interpretations, making the music sound more lyrical, more “popular”, and also making it sound much easier to play — deceptively, of course. For years the standard recording of the Villa-Lobos Preludes has been the Zanon version, one of the finest guitar recordings ever made. The race is very close; Kayath may have a slight edge in technique, but Zanon wins for overall drama and style (although he observes a deep cut in No.3). But if you’re a serious guitar student, you’ll have them both. 

Paul Shoemaker 

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