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).
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