Iberoamérica Manuel PONCE(1882-1948) Sonata Romántica (1929) [23:21]
Joaquín RODRIGO(1901-1999) Sonata Giocosa (1958) [12:55] Leo BROUWER(b. 1939) Sonata (1990) [14:44]
Hermann Hudde (guitar)
rec. August 2007, Blink Music Studios at Cambridge MA, USA CENTAUR CRC 2974
This program could make a fine recital: three interesting guitar
sonatas, coming from the great axis of guitar music - Spain
and Latin America. Retrospection is another unifying trait.
Manuel Ponce was born in Mexico, but his Sonata Romántica
is called "Hommage à Franz Schubert" for a
good reason. It is as close to Schubert's music as possible,
though without Schubert's magic. Imagine some of quieter of
Schubert's piano sonatas like op.120 transcribed for guitar,
with something like Aire de Zamba of Barrios inserted
as the third movement. Thus it goes: Schubert-Schubert-Latin-Schubert.
The music is relaxed and conflictless, a set of quiet Musical
moments ... OK, along with genuine Schubertian breadth you
get long musical moments, but they are beautiful and
well worth it. Take your time and float with it. The emotional
Latin part comes as welcome refreshment exactly when needed.
This is after two rather static movements. The finale has the
feeling of a finale, but without a raising of the voice.
If you know Rodrigo's guitar concertos, then the Sonata Giocosa
will not be a novelty for you: it stands right there between
the Aranjuez and Andaluz, only without the orchestra.
In the first part a coquettish, feminine melody lightly weaves
its way between the pillars of loud, masculine stomping. It
has a flamenco air - but gentle and playful, not fiery. As so
often in Rodrigo's tripartite works, the heart of the music
lies in the slow middle part. Here it is a solemn sarabande.
Emerging from medieval mists, with Greensleeves-like modal turns,
it has the beauty of an old castle. The giocoso is back
in the third movement, a vigorous Spanishdance. You
hear the tambourine and the castanets, and the texture is fuller
- it was more of a one-liner in the first movement. The music
may remind one of the first movement of Aranjuez - even
ending in the same quiet way, leaving you with a question: "Is
this all?" However, it is not at all predictable: jolly
dissonances jump at you from nooks and corners that once seemed
so cozy and harmless. As with the Rodrigo works it is never
Leo Brouwer's Sonata is significantly more modern, and
very interesting. The first part is entitled Fandangos y
Boleros. It shows something of the process of gestation,
germination of the two dance rhythms, one around the other.
This is done in a swirling, misty cauldron under the constant
clicking of a mysterious clock. The music is fascinating in
its progress: fragments of rhythms and of the motifs rise to
the surface and fade from view as if particles in a lazy kaleidoscope
- one of them quotes Beethoven's Pastoral. We don't see
the result of the gestation: instead we peek into the cauldron
and close the lid again. The short second part is named Sarabanda
de Scriabin. I don't quite hear a sarabande, but Scriabin's
enigmatic splashes are definitely there. The music is almost
static, like an enchanted forest lake or a candle's flame. Then,
suddenly awake, we enter the tumult of the last part, La
Toccata de Pasquini. We could still be in Scriabin's world,
but now it's all movement, all a flutter of little wings, all
flight to the light. There is a quotation from seventeenth-century
Italian composer Bernardo Pasquini's Toccatacon
loscherzodelcucco (Toccata with Cuckoo Scherzo) woven into
the tapestry. The sonata ends with a feeling of reaching the
Ponce's sonata is played beautifully, but you really hear a
lot of extra noise: the guitar is complaining about every other
move of fingers like an old grandpa about his joints. It is
more noticeable if you use headphones. There is less of it in
Rodrigo, and I can't say anything about Brouwer, because the
music really enthralls me every time. It's, like, wow.
The recording quality is good, the documentation tells a lot
about the guitarist, but I would like to have read more about
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