|Antonio LAURO (1917-1986)
from Suite venezolana
Agustin BARRIOS (1885-1994)
Una limosna por el amor de Dios
Takashi YOSHIMATSU (b.1953)
Wind color Vector
Two Little Pieces
Heiter VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
from Twelve Etudes
Etude de arpèges
Incantation No. 7 'Donegal'
Incantation No. 6
Incantation No. 3 'Hommage to Stanley Myers'
Francisco TÁRRAGA (1852-1909)
Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Eduardo SAINZ DE LA MAZA (1903-1982)
from Platero y yo
Leo BROUWER (b.1939)
Duos temas populares cubanos
Canción de cuna
Jorge CARDOSO (b.1949)
Francis POULENC (1899-1963)
Stanley MYERS (1934-1993)
Cavatina (arr. John Williams)
Craig Ogden has something of a reputation as one of the leading guitarists
of his generation, so high expectations accompany any new release from him;
but I doubt whether this latest offering will reinforce his position.
The music presented does include three premier recordings but on the whole
the rest of the programme is in the category of the 'rent-a-programme'. I
mean before forking out your hard earned cash you must wonder how many more
versions of Tárrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' or 'Capricho Arabe'
your collection needs, let alone more studies from Villa-Lobos. Reputably
Barrios wrote several hundreds of works so why is it only the same handful
seem obligatory in this type of programming.
Of course new recordings of these works are necessary but only when the
performance is in some way of an exemplary quality. Sadly Craig Ogden's are
not quite in that class. I am the first to say music making should not become
a competition but here it invites comparisons. Craig's playing on this disc
is competent rather than distinctive, the sound has been treated with a little
too much reverb for my taste but without it I fear it would be a little dry.
His treatment of expression is a touch erratic. As in the case of 'Capricho
Arabe', were the rallentando's and accelerando's seem to alternate with no
apparent regard to the music, thus undermining the natural rhythmic pulse
of the piece and although his tremolo technique is relatively smooth (there
are three pieces on the disc where it is used) I feel it is slightly bass
heavy so it intrudes on the melody line.
Of the premier recordings these pieces must be judged on their own musical
Craig Ogden has already recorded Yakash Yoshimatso' 'Concerto for Guitar'
(Chan. 9438). These first recordings of 'Wind Color Vector' and 'Two Little
Pieces' are for solo guitar. Yoshimatso obviously has an affinity for the
guitar but I found my attention wandering during the longer (at 10:47) 'Wind
Color Vector' which employed abundant harmonic, tremolo and rasgueado techniques
but had no apparent direction, whereas the shorter pieces worked more
William Lovelady is a new name to me but his 'Three Incantations' touched
with an eccentric charm, reminiscent of Eric Satie made them for me the highpoint
of the disc.
It seems extraordinary that Eduardo Sainz de la Maza's 'Platero Y Yo', composed
in 1960, has never been recorded in its entirety. 'Platero' and 'El loco'
are only two of the eight movements (some of which have already been committed
to disc). Less well known than the Castelnuova-Tedesco composition of the
same name, both are based on Juan Ramón Jimenez's book of prose about
a little donkey. De la Maza's view is less episodic than Tedesco's but it
bears the distinctive fingerprints of the composer. A fine example of that
period of Spanish guitar music.
Just a word about the sleeve design and title. 'Guitar Meditations' that
falls into the '100 great tunes', 'Music of the Night' T.V. advertised style
of marketing, which does a label like Chandos no favours.
This record could well appeal to the collector of guitar music simply for
the premiered items but the listener who really wants a disc of guitar favourites
there are plenty of budget priced collections that would be more appropriate.