Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
3 Spanish Songs (1951) [4:20]
Aranjuez, Ma Pensée (1968/1988) [5:14]
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Sevillana, op.29 (1923) [5:26]
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805), arr. Julian BREAM (b.1933)
Introduction and Fandango [5:53]
Sérgio ASSAD (b.1952)
Autumn Waltz [3:57]
Radamés GNATTALI (1906-1988)
Sonata for Guitar and Cello (1969) [10:52]
Giulio REGONDI (1822-1872)
Introduction and Caprice, op.23 [9:20]
Martin DERUNGS (b.1943)
Elegy, op.59 (1996) [7:47]
Peter WETTSTEIN (b.1939)
Sketches (1981) [4:20]
Ludwig SENFL (1486-1542/3) arr. Admir DOÇI (b.1982)
Mag ich Unglück nit Widerstahn [1:40]
Trad. arr. Admir DOÇI
Ach Elselein, liebes Elselein [1:45]
Admir Doçi (guitar)
Leila Pfister (mezzo) [Rodrigo]
Martin Derungs (harpsichord) [Boccherini]
Mattia Zappa (cello) [Gnattali]
Matthias Weilenmann (recorder) [Senfl]
rec. Alte Kirche Boswil, November 2008. DDD
GUILD GMCD 7347 [65:41]
Guild is a Swiss label, and, wholly reasonably, this release features many Swiss musicians: composers Regondi, Derungs, Wettstein and Senfl, and the four excellent 'duettists' named above. And although star guitarist Admir Doçi is Albanian, he did study, graduate and perform widely in Switzerland.
Those composers who are not Swiss all have some connection with Spain or its old empire in South America, and these make up the first half of the programme.
Guitarophiles will be very familiar with Turina's Sevillana, op.29, and admirers of Spanish music will also know Rodrigo's fleeting 3 Canciones Españolas, at least in their original version for voice and piano. Even more will recognise the spine-tingling Aranjuez, Ma Pensée as an arrangement of the famous second movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez. But how many will know that Rodrigo himself did the rewriting, in his 87th year no less, to a text by Victoria Kamhi - who also arranged the folk material for the 3 Canciones?
Apart from the opening ten or so minutes of Rodrigo, the CD is purely instrumental, with Doçi's guitar appearing either as a solo instrument, or in duos with harpsichord, cello or recorder. And indeed, as can be deduced from the shortness of many of the works, and the chronological variety of the composers, this disc is primarily a showcase for the talented Doçi, who is currently Professor of Guitar in Tirana.
Sérgio Assad's Valsa de Outono (Autumn Waltz) and Peter Wettstein's Skizzen (Sketches) are both shortish solo pieces. Wettstein is Swiss and Assad Brazilian, and their 'sounds' are as different as might be expected, even in these relatively nonchalant works. Skizzen opens with an impressive 'drum roll'. Radamés Gnattali, despite the Italian look of his surname, is also Brazilian, and once again the South American influences shine through in his Sonata for Guitar and Cello, though perhaps sounding more Argentinean than anything, particularly in the first movement. This is probably the finest work on the disc, with expressive playing from both Doçi and cellist Mattia Zappa.
Boccherini's Fandango is the much-arranged one from his D major Guitar Quintet G448 (itself an arrangement by Boccherini of an earlier work!), in a witty version by Julian Bream for guitar and harpsichord. Martin Derungs is a Swiss harpsichordist and composer and appears twice on the disc, once in each capacity - first in the Boccherini, and then when Doçi plays his Elegie, op.59, an unusual, slightly unsettling work, and probably the best for solo guitar on the CD.
The longest work for solo guitar featured is Giulio Regondi's Introduction et Caprice, op.23. As well as a guitarist, Regondi was famed in his time as a concertina virtuoso, and that somehow seems to come out in this warm, lilting piece.
To a broader public, Ludwig Senfl is probably the most well-known Swiss name of all those appearing here. He is represented by three arrangements by Doçi for guitar and recorder, inconsequential but nevertheless pretty. The last item is also an arrangement by Doçi, this time of a folksong, but sounding quite a lot like Senfl.
Sound quality is splendid throughout, and the booklet informative, though some of the text is very small. In sum, by no means an essential purchase, but Doçi's flawless guitar playing and the imaginative, melodious programme lend this CD wide appeal, and make it a pleasant way to spend an hour.
Flawless playing and an imaginative, melodious programme lend this CD wide appeal. A pleasant way to spend an hour.