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Carles Pons i Altés: Bolero para un Ángel
Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909)
Rosita [1:50]
Santiago de MURCIA (1682-1735)
Tarantelas y Fandango [4:44]
Mauricio Opazo MUÑOZ (b.1969)
Bolero para un Ángel [3:43]
Roland DYENS (b.1955)
Tango en Skaï [2:45]
Fernando SOR (1778-1839)
Souvenirs d'une soirée a Berlin [11 :52]
Anthony SYDNEY (b.1952)
Sonatina Portuguesa [6 :03]
Manuel López QUIROGA (1899-1988) arr. C. TREPAT
Romance de Valentía (Pasodoble), [4 :04]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Cádiz [4 :40]
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Fandanguillo [5 :03]
Dos Cançons populars catalanes [4 :32]
Trad. arr. Emilio PUJOL (1886-1980)

El cant dels ocells
Miguel LLOBET (1878-1938)
El testament d’Amelia

Laurent BOUTROS (b.1965)
Les Echelles du Levant [4:25]
David QUALEY (b.1948)
One Time Swing [3:56]
Charles TRENET (1913-2001) arr. Roland DYENS (b.1955)
Revoir Paris

Carles Pons i Altés (guitar)
rec. no details given
SHEVA 009 [62:06] 


Experience Classicsonline

There are a great many very good guitarists around at present. To stand out takes something really special. Good as he is – technically proficient as he is, thoroughly musical as he is – I am not sure that Carlos Pons i Altés, on the evidence of this CD, quite has the kind of distinctive musical personality to distinguish him from the crowd, to make him more than ‘just’ another of the many very good contemporary players of his instrument. But if one can’t quite give him some greater accolade than that, one can certainly get a good deal of pleasure from a thoroughly enjoyable CD. The choice of repertoire is interesting and varied and the recorded sound is good.

Indeed, guitarophiles will perhaps decide on the desirability (or otherwise) of the CD on the attractiveness of the repertoire. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the skimpy booklet that accompanies the recording contains absolutely no information on the music, just a CV of the performer.

There are two world premiere recordings. One is of Anthony Sydney’s Sonatina Portuguesa. Sydney, a New Yorker by birth, has lived and worked in Tuscany for some years. His working background as a guitarist includes rock and jazz as well as classical spheres. His Sonatina Portuguesa is in two movements – a Preludio of some four minutes and a Danza of some one and a half minutes. The thoughtful Preludio makes subtle use of silence in its opening section before developing ideas in a quasi-improvisational fashion and finally returning to the short phrases of its opening. Danza’s invitation to the dance is not altogether straightforward, its rhythmic patterns less than insistent and its turns sometimes quite oblique. The whole has a genuine poetry about it – it is a piece that other guitarists might reasonably add to their repertoire. The second premiere is of the piece that gives the album its title, Bolero para un Ángel by the Chilean Mauricio Opazo Muñoz. This is a slowly lilting piece of considerable beauty, endowed with a graceful melodic accessibility that would surely make it very popular if it was heard widely (and not just with guitar specialists).

Elsewhere there is an impish reading of Tárrega’s polka Rosita; the two popular songs from Catalan are delightful, especially the version of the Christmas carol El cant dels occels, though El testament d’Amelia is also played with winning delicacy. David Qualey’s One Time Swing goes with – aptly enough – a pleasantly infectious swing and this is a performance which successfully handles the piece with more restraint than one or two I have heard. On a slightly more negative note, the particular charm of Santiago de Murcia’s music seems to evade the soloist and there are certainly better performances to be heard of the pieces by Sor and Albéniz. Again, I should stress that this is not to suggest that these are ‘bad’ performances, merely that they are not outstandingly good.

Carles Pons i Altés teaches courses and master classes in many parts of the world. I have no doubt that his students benefit much from his intentions – he is obviously a knowledgeable and talented musician, even if, to my ears, he doesn’t quite have ‘star’ quality as a performer.

Glyn Pursglove



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