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Seen & Heard
Editor in Chief
|20th Century Guitar – The
Art of Modern Guitar
Ulrich WEDLICH (b.
Guitar Sonata (1995) [19:43]
Leo BROUWER (b.
Concerto elegiaco, Hommage à César
Franck (1986) [26:30]
Carlo DOMENICONI (b.
Koyunbaba, op.19 (1985) [13:55]
New Moscow Chamber Orchestra/Igor Zhukov (Brouwer)
rec. 1992, 1995, 2006, Karlshöhe Ludwigsberg and Schloßkirche
PROFIL PH08039 [60:09]
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.
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