The young Swedish
guitarist Johannes Möller (born 1981) made his debut at the
age of 13 and since then has performed in many European countries
plus Canada and the USA. He studied with Roland Fridh and Bo
Hansson in his native country and later earned a Bachelor of
Music with Honours from the Royal College of Music, where his
teachers were Gary Ryan and Carlos Bonell. This is his first
solo CD but he has made several recordings with his father,
flautist Mats Möller, who is also the producer of this recording.
On this hearing
he is already a mature artist with excellent technique and as
recorded here produces so beautiful a tone that I had to dig
deep in my guitar collection to find something comparable. He
is also a stylish musician with feeling for the musical phrase.
Inquiring readers should try the final piece on this disc, the
old war-horse Recuerdos de la Alhambra, where the tremolo
playing is absolutely spotless and he finds the right ebb and
flow that allows the music to unfold naturally and alive without
any superimposed accents or inflexions. This also goes for de
Falla’s only composition for guitar, the Homage to Debussy.
In Rodrigo’s contemplative Junto al Generalife he savours
the beautiful sounds, while En los trigales mixes the
swagger of the flamenco rhythms and a more reflective inwardness.
At the centre of
the recital is the four movement Sonata by Antonio José,
who was executed by Falangists in the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
It is a many-faceted composition. The first movement has a certain
improvisatory character with sudden changes of mood. The short
minuet seems to be searching for a tonal centre while the third
movement Pavana triste makes some efforts to get rid
of the melancholy but ultimately capitulates. The final movement,
though, is filled with rhythms and unbending energy. A fascinating
composition that requires to be heard, especially when played
as superbly as it is here.
The almost contemporaneous
Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, who was vouchsafed a much longer life,
liked to explore the possibilities of tremolo, as in the beautiful
Campanas del alba, a piece that should be heard more
often. There is a sweetness of melody that bears a certain likeness
to Tarrega. The tribute to the painter Toulouse-Lautrec is bolder,
more syncopated but also imbued with a melancholy that reflects
the personality of its dedicatee.
The recording team
have caught Johannes Möller’s beautiful tone to perfection and
it is a tribute to both technicians and player that there is
not a single extraneous noise on the disc; rare indeed with
There is a cornucopia
of immaculately executed and artistically superb music-making
on this disc which can be recommended, also for some rarely