Here’s the second installment of our new bi-weekly accounting of recent classical guitar CD releases. As we mentioned last time, these are not reviews per se, but more announcements that list the pieces and composers played, with just a few notes about the discs. Some of these may be properly reviewed in a forthcoming issue, some not. You might be able to hear some of these may on Apple Music or Spotify, but we also hope you’ll support artists by actually buying their music, too!
And if you have a CD you’d like to submit to us, here’s our address:
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Richmond, CA 94804-3505
Guitarists Norbert Kraft and Jeffrey McFadden split duties on 30 short pieces by Fernando Sor (1778–1839)—24 Progressive Lessons, Op. 31, and 6 Little Pieces, Op. 32, both originally published in France around 1828, but still relevant to guitarists today. The playing and recording both sparkle with life, and longtime Classical Guitar writer Graham Wade contributed the informative notes.
Steve Cowan is one of Canada’s top contemporary classical guitarists and this time out he’s made a bracing CD consisting of eight pieces by Canadian composers, including himself: five for solo guitar, two for guitar duo (Cowan and François Bergeron), and one for guitar and (seriously strange) electronics. Most of it is in a modern idiom, with considerable dissonance, unpredictable rhythms and unusual melodies.
Pour Guitare (Vivier); Danse Burlesque (Mehdizadeh); Intermezzo, Op. 80 (Hetu); Dreaded Sea Voyage (Staniland); Shadow Prism (Noble); L’Ineffable Secret des Images Rupestres (Bergeron); Canzona (Agócs); Changeling (Cowan)
Here’s a video of Cowan playing Claude Vivier’s title track from the CD:
Joie de Vivre Katrin Endrikat katrinendikat.com
Another pleasant outing from German guitarist Katrin Endrikat, this time comprised entirely of works by Spanish and South American composers. Paolo Bellinati’s Jongo is fast becoming one of the most-recorded contemporary guitar pieces, though it has a long way to go to catch up to Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, which is also here.
Suite del Recuerdo (Merlin); Sonatina for Guitar (Torroba); Danza Paraguaya (Barrios); El Marabino (Lauro); El Noi de la Mare (Traditional/Llobet); Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tárrega); Villanesca (Granados); Sevilla (Albéniz); Jongo (Bellinati)
Always on the hunt for something a little different, Jason Vieaux teams up with French accordion/bandoneon phenom Julien Labro for an invigorating program encompassing Brouwer, Gnattali, Piazzolla, Pat Metheny, and the mid-’80s pop group Tears for Fears. The Gnattali also features bass and drums.
Tres Danzas Concertantes (Brouwer); Antonia (Metheny); Suite Retratos (Gnattali); Escualo (Piazzolla); Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Orzabel, Stanley, Hughes)
Depending on your taste and inclinations, this is either a pretty CD of beloved, wedding-safe, (mostly) middle-of-the-road pop tunes, or a too-sweet confection lacking in drama and dynamics and any sort of edge. “The Water Is Wide” and “Desperado” are nicely handled.
Water Is Wide (Traditional); If (Gates); Lovin’ You (Ripperton, Rudolph); Just the Way You Are (Joel); Yesterday Once More (Bettis, Carpenter); Desperado (Henley, Frey); Say You Love Me (Austin); One Fine Day (King, Goffin); You Needed Me (Goodrum); He Was Beautiful (Cavatina) (Myers, Laine)