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Goran Krivokapić: Guitar Recital
Franz WERTHMÜLLER (1769 – 1841) Sonata in A major, Op. 17 (transcribed by Franz Pfeifer) [13:41]; Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750) Sonata No. 3 in C major, BWV 1005 (originally for violin solo)(transcribed by Goran Krivokapić) [18:36]; Domenico SCARLATTI (1685 – 1757) Sonata K. 162: Andante [7:16]; Sonata K. 208: Andante et cantabile [4:11]; Sonata K. 209: Allegro [5:06](transcribed by Carlo Marchione); Dušan BOGDANOVIĆ (b. 1955) Sonata No. 2 for Guitar (1985) [12:21]
Goran Krivokapić (guitar)
rec. St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 28 April – 1 May 2005
NAXOS 8.557809 [61:11]

Goran Krivokapić, born in 1979 in Belgrade, has won no less than seventeen first prizes in international guitar competitions. Of course winning competitions does not automatically guarantee a great career but on the other hand seventeen different juries can’t be completely wrong when it comes to judging both technical proficiency and artistic insights. The direct reason for this recording in Naxos’s admirable Laureate series was his victory in the 2004 Guitar Foundation of America Competition. My expectations were high when I pressed the "play"- button; I was not disappointed. Rarely have I heard such remarkable fluency and lightness. Rarely have I heard a guitar “sing” with such sonority. Initially I thought it was a pity that he didn’t choose more original music – only the last piece, by his compatriot Bogdanović, was written explicitly for the guitar – but all the transcriptions are expertly done and sound wholly idiomatic.

The Werthmüller sonata seems to have been written for a keyboard instrument and recalls the Vienna classicists with its elegantly flowing first movement and the concluding Rondo vivace with some bold harmonic turns. The central Lento seems to belong to another time, darker and more melancholy. A charming acquaintance, charmingly played.
Arrangements of Bach’s music are innumerable and Bach himself was an inveterate transcriber of his own music as well as that of others. Krivokapić plays his own transcription and, knowing his own capacity better than anyone else, it is tailor-made and fits like a glove. There is such ease about his playing and even the tricky “London Bridge” fugue feels as easy as could be.

Many of Scarlatti’s 555 harpsichord sonatas are certainly influenced by the guitar and they have long been favourites with guitarists in sundry transcriptions. What always impresses about these sonatas, whether they are played on the harpsichord or the guitar, is the inexhaustible richness of invention. The Andante et cantabile K. 208 is indeed a remarkable piece of music, wandering through the harmonies in an almost impressionist manner.

And so, finally, the only "original" music: Dušan Bogdanović’s Sonata No. 2. His name was new to me but by a strange coincidence I received in the same bunch of review discs another composition by him, for two guitars, to be reviewed shortly. The Sonata, written in 1985, is in four short movements, filled with rhythmic intricacies and, as Colin Cooper writes in his perceptive notes, it is the rhythmic elements that form the structural backbone of the whole composition, also in the two middle movements, of which the Scherzo malinconico seems to be a contradiction in terms, but that’s what it is, a very original "melancholy joke". There is a feeling of the Balkans through the whole composition and nowhere more so than in the final Allegro ritmico, which is a fireworks of technical challenges, executed by Goran Krivokapić with almost casual ease and elegance. This is a fitting conclusion to an unusually enjoyable guitar recital and I am already looking forward to hearing more of Dušan Bogdanović’s compositions and Goran Krivokapić’s playing.

By now it almost an axiom that when Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver are in charge of a recording the sound can‘t be bettered and this disc is no exception. There are a few squeaks from the fretboard but that is practically unavoidable.

Göran Forsling



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