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Antonio LAURO (1917-1986)
Jose Manuel LEZCANO (b. 1960)
Raul Garcia ZARATE
de Ancash [2:44]
Agustin BARRIOS (1885-1944)
Catedral, Preludio:[1:54]; La Catedral, Andante religioso [1:33];
La Catedral, Allegro solemne [3:11]; Vals in D minor [4:43]
Sonata in E minor, K 11
[1:40]; Sonata in E Major K. 380 [2:57]
Andante Largo [4:59]
Luis MERLIN (b.1952)
Evocacion [1:27]; Zamba [1:22]
Frederico Moreno TORROBA (1891-1982)
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
vida breve (duo) [4:02]
Ernesto LECUONA (1895-1963)
No catalogue number allocated to this disc. [41:27]
its lack of sustain and evolutionary design no concert instrument
is more adversely affected by ambient conditions than the
guitar. Humidity, temperature, venue and audience size together
with acoustics may combine to adversely affect instrument
and player. Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) recognised this
and, although later to be proven myopic by Andrès Segovia
(1893-1987) relegated the guitar to the status of a salon
his biography, A Life On the Road Julian Bream noted: ‘I
was just saying that because the humidity in Dartington is
so high it is an extraordinary bad place for trills. The
tips of your fingers become so soft it’s like playing with
bits of damp blotting paper.’ After another particularly
long concert attended by over 2000 people, Bream made the
following observations: ‘ My left hand was sluggish …. no
inner rhythm ….. the instrument uncertain …. Another evening
of spine-tingling excitement.’
concert guitarist have had similar experiences where conditions
and circumstances combined to result in a below anticipated
a recording environment most of the elements that play havoc
in a live concert can be tamed, compensated for and controlled.
It is uncommon, if not rare, to hear in concert a guitarist
who sounds as good as on recordings. If you happen to be
well to the rear of a large venue and there is no amplification,
you may even miss some of the detail.
said the review disc imparts a strong aural impression that
it was made in a live concert environment rather than in
a recording studio. The overall presentation suggests it
may have been recorded privately rather than commercially,
and it bears none of the hallmarks of having been manicured
and edited in the studio to provide ‘air-brushed’ perfection.
After listening to this recording I doubt that anyone would
be disappointed with the same programme played by José Lezcano
in live concert, extreme untoward circumstances aside.
Lezcano was born in Cuba in 1960. He studied guitar with
Aaron Shearer and Christopher Berg. He later augmented these
studies with master classes by Michael Lorimer, Sharon Isbin
and Cuban composer/guitarist Leo Brouwer. In 1982 he won
the MTNA National Guitar Competition and in 1998 received
a Fulbright Award in Ecuador to teach, perform and research
indigenous guitar traditions. He holds a Ph.D. in music theory
from Florida State University and a B.M. (guitar) from Peabody
Conservatory. Mr Lezcano is currently Professor of Music
at Keene State College, New Hampshire, USA.
programme here is an eclectic mix of composers most of whom
are well known to guitar audiences: Scarlatti, Sor, Barrios
and de Falla. Included with one or two other less familiar
composers is the guitarist himself and Antonia Zarate (2)
is from the pen of José Lezcano. Interestingly the three-part La
Catedral by Barrios is presented as three tracks (4-6)
of discrete music rather than just one as per an earlier
recording by John Williams.
tracks (14) and (15) Mr Lezcano is joined by guitarist John
Millennium Guitar described
José Lezcano as a ‘superb guitarist’ and in absolute terms
there are plenty of occasions in the programme to justify
such a claim.
gets off to a good start with strong rhythmic attention to
Lauro’s Natalia with its engaging 3/4:6/8 patterns.
There are times when Lezcano displays the emotion, empathy
and sensitivity toward his readings that is emulated in the
dedication of this recording to his parents Hipolito (1932-2003)
and Raquel; his rendition of the beautiful Evocacion by
Merlin (10) embraces these characteristics and more. The
cross-string trills in the Scarlatti sonatas, often excluded
from these pieces in favour of single-string ornamentation,
are an artistic inclusion.
in comparative terms the solo playing on this occasion does
not consistently compare with a number of other recording
artists from the younger generations of guitarists.
could easily be distracted and misled by the recording per
se which has bass string buzzes, heavy breathing and some
of the most conspicuous string squeaking I have heard on
recording, but the presence of these factors evokes a feeling
of listening to a real live musician not an edited, clone
of perfection. On balance, close scrutiny of a standard such
as Vals in D minor by Barrios (13), based on the performance
here, excludes Lezcano from an apotheosis achieved by the
is an enjoyable recording with an interesting, entertaining
and well-played programme, albeit rather short at 41:27.
For perfectionists it may fall short of the mark because
of a refreshingly honest presentation.
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