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20th Century Guitar – The Art of Modern Guitar
Ulrich WEDLICH (b. 1954)
Guitar Sonata (1995) [19:43]
Leo BROUWER (b. 1939)
Concerto elegiaco, Hommage à César Franck (1986) [26:30]
Carlo DOMENICONI (b. 1947)
Koyunbaba, op.19 (1985) [13:55]
Friedemann Wuttke (guitar)
New Moscow Chamber Orchestra/Igor Zhukov (Brouwer)
rec. 1992, 1995, 2006, Karlshöhe Ludwigsberg and Schloßkirche Solitude Stuttgart
Experience Classicsonline

Ulrich Wedlich “…treads the fine line between arbitrary populism and sophisticated elitism in an impressive and sophisticated manner .” I have no idea what that means. Wedlich has written avant-garde and experimental electronic music, chamber and symphonic works as well as pop and jazz arrangements. This Sonata is a very enjoyable three movement piece – fast, slow, fast - in a tonal idiom, well laid out for the instrument, with good tunes and straightforward working out of the material. If appealing to the public is “arbitrary populism” then I am all for it. It certainly has things to say and the composer fills his 19 minutes with much invention. It was written for Wuttke and he plays it for all it is worth.
Leo Brouwer is a guitarist and has written ten concertos for his instrument as well as a Concerto for two guitars and one for violin and guitar, not to mention an amazing amount of music for solo guitar. Naxos is, at present, recording his complete solo guitar works. Brouwer wrote this 3rd Concerto for Julian Bream who premièred it in a BBC broadcast in September 1986. In three movements, the first is slow and meditative, the guitar musing over its themes until the orchestra takes over with music of violence. In the second half of the movement soloist and orchestra combine in a quite spectacular ghostly remembrance of earlier material. This calms down and leading directly into a short slow movement. The finale is a wild dance, interrupted by a more elegiac idea before the dance takes off again, ending defiantly. This is a very fine work and receives a very good performance. The balance between soloist and orchestra - of strings and minimal percussion only - is excellent.
Carlo Domeniconi is, like Brouwer, a guitarist so he knows how to write for the instrument. He studied at the West Berlin University of Music (later renamed The Berlin University of the Arts) and subsequently was professor there for twenty years. He later visited Turkey, took to the people and culture, started a department for guitar studies at the Istanbul Conservatory and developed a compositional style that reflected the regional folk influence.
Koyunbaba is possibly his best known work. The name literally means sheep-father, or shepherd, others translate it as the spirit of the sheep, but it also refers to a 13th century mystical saint-like figure whose grave is decorated with coloured bits of cloth by Turkish villagers seeking his help with family problems, and by young women wanting children. A bay, which bears the Saint’s name, opens onto the Mediterranean.
Domeniconi takes the saint as his subject matter and has created a work which reflects the sun at its zenith, the regular eternal movement of the sea, and takes us on a magical tour. It’s well written for the guitar but there’s a paucity both of substance and invention.
Wuttke plays very well throughout and is ably accompanied by the New Moscow Chamber Orchestra. The sound, despite being from three very different times, is very consistent and the notes in the booklet are good. An enjoyable issue and well worth having for the Brouwer Concerto.
Bob Briggs


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