Michael Kolk plays Nick Peros' '24 Nocturnes for Solo Guitar'
Most weeks we take a peak at recent albums or sheet music releases. Here are three of the CDs that have come into the Classical Guitar office recently.
If you have a CD you’d like to submit to us, here’s our address:
501 Canal Blvd. suite J
Richmond, CA 94804-3505
Some of the albums we talk about online will be reviewed in the magazine, some not. But we want to at least mention them here. You can listen to some of these on various of streaming services, but we always encourage you to support the artists by actually buying anything you like! Obviously we cannot research and report every outlet or online business where these albums are sold, so check your favorite places that sell CDs and downloads!
To see our previous listings, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Pulse Quatuor Eclisses
The latest outing from this excellent French quartet (Gabriel Bianco, Arkaïtz Chambonnet, Pierre Lelièvre, and Benjamin Valette) presents two pieces written for the group—by Karol Beffa and the seemingly ubiquitous Sérgio Assad, who never fails to come up with interesting material that both challenges and delights players and listeners—three from earlier piano works by Ravel, Turina, and Bartók, and one from an orchestral piece by Ginastera. There’s a tremendous range of styles and moods here. I was delightfully surprised by the melodious Bartók (it’s based on folk themes), and appreciated the modern tonalities and unpredictable structure of the Beffa and, especially, the Assad (in which, he explains in the notes, he attempts to musically describe aspects of the players’ personalities). It’s an adventurous and rewarding listen by four superb players.
Les Météores (Beffa); Danses populaires roumaines (Bartók); Danzas Fantásticas; One 4 all 4 one (Assad); Pavane pour une infant défunte (Ravel); Estancia (Ginastera)
Below is the CD version of the Sérgio Assad, piece, One 4 All 4 One, from YouTube:
Nick Peros: Nocturnes Michael Kolk
Although I think of myself as a cheery fellow, I do love a good nocturne, or any music that truly captures the mystery and dark hues of night. This ambitious but very well-achieved collection of 24 original nocturnes for solo guitar written by Canadian composer Nick Peros, and played by beautifully by fellow Canadian Michael Kolk (of Henderson-Kolk Duo fame), really does evoke an amazing range of evening moods, musically painted in shadow and moonlight and a seemingly infinite palette of blues, grays and blacks. Just six of these 24 pieces top the three-minute mark, yet none of them sound at all fragmentary; each feels substantial and well-developed. I was immediately impressed by the subtle (and obvious) differences among the two-dozen—for 16 of the 24, Peros even includes brief suggestions for the mood a player should try for: “with fire and passion,” “with mystery and longing,” “peaceful, gentle,” “atmospheric, mysterious,” etc. (I beg to differ on No. 20, which calls for “gentle” but sounds “sinister” to me!), and the others are open-ended for us to determine. It’s a rich well of approaches and emotions, a lot of night music that I’ve been returning to again and again. Also worth noting is that a book of the sheet music for all 24 is available from Les Productions d’Oz.
This Nocturne is described by Peros as “reflective”:
¡Acentuado! Yuri Liberzon Yuriguitar.com
The San Francisco Bay Area–based Russian guitarist’s second album is devoted entirely to works by Ástor Piazzolla: The six Tango-Études were originally written for solo flute; these guitar transcriptions are by Manuel Barrueco (one of Liberzon’s teachers) and there is a pleasing variety among them, as the vague French and Spanish descriptors for each indicate: “with anxiety,” “slow and meditative,” “without indication,” etc. The four-movement Histoire du Tango (written in 1986)has become quite fashionable in guitar circles in recent years, played in many different duo combinations. Here it is presented as Piazzolla wrote it—for guitar and flute, with Puerto Rican flutist Josué Casillas joining forces admirably with Liberzon. All in all, it’s a solid and satisfying outing that reaffirms Piazzolla’s genius as a composer and also Liberzon’s skills as an interpreter of a wide range material.
Tango-Études No.1–No.6; Histoire du Tango (all four movements)