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Vast Expanse
Leo BROUWER (b.1939)
Canción de cuna [3:46]
Ojos brujos [2:09]
Ariel RAMIREZ (1921-2010)
Alfonsina y el Mar arr. Dyens [6:07]
Ralph TOWNER (b.1940)
The Reluctant Bride (arr. Leonard Gregorian) [4:36]
Green and Golden [4:43]
Beneath an Evening Sky [6:24]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Prelude No.1 in E minor [4:51]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Il Romantico [5:19]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Lute Suite BWV 997 [20:12]
Gidi Ifergan (guitar)
Gitai Ifergan (trumpet: Evening sky)
rec. 2015-16, Pughouse, Thornbury, Victoria, Australia
CALA CACD77023 [58:25]

There’s next to nothing in the brief booklet to help guide a potential listener through Gidi Ifergan’s programme but the promotional material sent with the review disc is certainly right to note it as ‘eclectic’. Given, too, the prominent presence of Latin American composers the cover artwork seems a little chilly.

From Bach to Brouwer pretty much covers things. Indeed, the latter’s Canción de cuna opens the recital in a most relaxed and enticing way, its leisurely, lissom romanticism getting things off to a warm-hearted and lyric start. Ojos brujos offers more expressive pleasures. Ariel Ramirez is less immediately known than Brouwer and his Alfonsina y el Mar – arranged by Roland Dyens - offers deft pictorial charm with a flamenco-like brio. Ralph Towner’s Green and Golden sounds quite challenging – at any rate there’s quite of case of what Bream always calls ‘gym shoes’. Towner recorded his own Beneath an Evening Sky with John Taylor, and Gary Burton – expensive collaborators – but here the guitarist is joined by what I assume is his trumpet playing son, Gitai: Miles Davis is a big influence tonally and expressively.
It’s probably unfair to contrast Ifergan’s rather staid Villa-Lobos Prelude No.1 in E minor with that of Segovia but it is nevertheless unignorably the fact that Segovia’s colour-drenched melancholia is a world away from the static declamation evoked by the Australian guitarist. A tracking misadventure on my copy has extended the track listing by one – 13, not the 12 claimed in the jewel case, so you’ll find your journey in Bach’s Lute Suite BWV997 gets complicated. The playing is thoughtful and the Fuga is measured.

The recording is quite close up and allied to the foggy booklet, newcomers will be in the dark about almost all this repertoire. The resulting disc is pleasant but sometimes lacks a true sense of colour and place.

Jonathan Woolf



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