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Guitar Meditations Craig Ogden CHANDOS CHAN 9743




Antonio LAURO (1917-1986)

from Suite venezolana

Agustin BARRIOS (1885-1994)
La Cathedral

Andante religioso
Allegro solemne

Una limosna por el amor de Dios

Julia florida

Takashi YOSHIMATSU (b.1953)
Premiere recordings
Wind color Vector


Two Little Pieces

Heiter VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
from Twelve Etudes

Etude de arpèges

William LOVELADY (b.1945)
Premiere recordings

Incantation No. 7 'Donegal'
Incantation No. 6
Incantation No. 3 'Hommage to Stanley Myers'

Francisco TÁRRAGA (1852-1909)
Capricho árabe
Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Eduardo SAINZ DE LA MAZA (1903-1982)
Premiere recordings

from Platero y yo

El loco

Leo BROUWER (b.1939)
Duos temas populares cubanos

Canción de cuna
Ojos brujos

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 merits.

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 successfully.

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.


Andy Daly


Andy Daly

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