With spring having formally arrived last week, I went looking for a piece that celebrates that wonderful season. Rather than going the perhaps obvious Piazzolla route (Primavera porteña), I opted for this striking and quite modern-sounding piece by Cuban composer and guitarist Joaquín Clerch (b. 1965), who studied guitar and composition both in Cuba and at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria. Clerch was a friend and protégé of Leo Brouwer, who composed two guitar concertos for him, and I think some of his influence can be heard in this work, Preludios de Primavera (published by Musikverlag Zimmerman).


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Passionately playing the final movements of Clerch’s challenging piece is the young Spanish guitarist Andrea González Caballero, in a performance from the final round of the 2016 Alhambra International Guitar Competition—where she was awarded First Prize. A studio recording of Caballero playing seven of the Clerch Preludios appears on her 2017 Naxos album, Guitar Recital.  (Andrea was featured previously in this space playing some Rodrigo.) —Blair Jackson