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David Martinez Guitar Recital
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685 – 1757) Sonata K 208; Sonata K 209; Sonata K 32; Sonata K 27; Giulio REGONDI (1822 – 1872) Introduction et Caprice, Op. 23; Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750) Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998; Dionisio AGUADO (1784 – 1849) Andante and Rondo No. 3; Regino SAINZ de la MAZA (1896 – 1981) Danzas Cervantinas (after Gaspar SANZ, 1640 – 1710) Folias; Españoleta; Marizapalos; Canarios; Paco de LUCIA (b. 1947) Fuente y Caudal (Tarantas); Francisco TÁRREGA (1852 – 1909) Recuerdos de la Alhambra; Lágrima
David Martinez (guitar)
rec. St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 22–24 April 2005.
NAXOS 8.557808 [68:19]

Domenico Scarlatti, born 1685 (the same year as Bach and Handel) was the son of opera composer Alessandro Scarlatti. He was a Neapolitan who moved to first Portugal and then to Spain where he settled. He was clearly influenced by the Spanish guitar music, rhythmically and harmonically, when he wrote many of his 555 harpsichord sonatas. It’s no wonder that they are popular among guitarists.

Granada-born David Martinez, first prize winner of the 2004 Tárrega International Guitar Competition, opens this excellent recital with four sonatas, nicely contrasting in mood to form a satisfying four-movement suite. The first sonata is played with a great warmth, underlined by the soft almost occluded sound, while the second of them, the lively K 209, has an especially memorable theme. There is no mentioning of who made the transcriptions, nor of the Bach piece, the difference of course being that a harpsichordist can play many more notes at the same time.

Regondi’s Introduction et Caprice is quite substantial, lasting more than ten minutes and is typical of its composer with its sweet melodies and somewhat improvisational character. Even longer and more firmly structured is Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998, of course written for a keyboard instrument. Colin Cooper states in his illuminating liner notes that it might have been composed with a "Lautenwerk" in mind. Bach owned such an instrument which used the same plucking mechanism as a harpsichord but was strung with gut instead of wire, lending it a sound closely reminiscent of a lute. As played here it fits perfectly comfortably in guitar dress.

Aguado’s Andante and Rondo is a genial composition, requiring fleet fingers and rhythmic thrust but probably not leaving much of an impression when finished. Back in the baroque tradition we meet Regino Sainz de la Maza, maybe best remembered as the guitarist who premiered Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. He was also a composer and a baroque enthusiast and these four dances are in effect transcriptions of 17th century composer Gaspar Sanz’s music. They are delicious original works sounding equally well in latterday garb for the modern six string guitar.

A big leap then to present day flamenco celebrity Paco de Lucia, whose Fuente y Caudal (Fountain and Flow) from the likewise entitled 1973 album, is a virtuoso piece, requiring among other things sure-fingered tremolo playing. This tarantos-based work, spiced with some daring harmonies and thrillingly rhythmical, is to me the highpoint of the disc, both as a composition and as an interpretation.

Tárrega’s ubiquitous Recuerdos de la Alhambra also receives an outstanding performance, uncommonly hushed and inward, and the lovely Lágrima, with a faint smile among the tears, pensively played, is a fitting conclusion to a highly attractive disc. Colin Cooper, as is his wont, contributes an insightful essay and the technical side can hardly be in better hands than Norbert Kraft’s and Bonnie Silver’s. Another feather in Naxos’s well-filled guitar hat and to be warmly recommended.

Göran Forsling



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