Baroque, Russians, Möller, and More: A Glance at Some Recent CD Releases
We receive many, many guitar CDs throughout the year, but because we have limited space for reviews in the four issues of Classical Guitar we put out annually, some releases, alas, go unmentioned. Starting now, we’d like to rectify that by providing a semimonthly accounting of the CDs that come in to the office. 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. Every other Tuesday we’ll mention a few online (and because of the backlog we have currently, we’ll be catching up for a while). We hope you’ll take the time to investigate the broad range of talented musicians who are out there recording and playing concerts. There are a lot real gems to be found!
And 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
—Blair Jackson (Editor, Classical Guitar)
Expresivo Jacob Cordover (Cala)
In the notes for this CD, Cordover (pictured at top), an Australian who has Spanish roots, is practically apologetic for loading this CD with so many oft-recorded guitar classics that were important to him as developed as a player. No apology is necessary: Cordover’s “greatest hits” approach works very well, as he brings out the best in pieces which are, as he puts it, “lyrical, beautiful, passionate, and evocative.”
Vals Op. 8 No. 4 (Barrios); Tango en Skaï (Dyens); Sevilla (Albéniz); Granada (Albéniz); Asturias (Albéniz); Prelude No. 1 (Villa-Lobos); Tango (Albéniz); Cavatina (Myers); Canción de cuna (Brouwer); Ojos bujos (Brouwer); Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tárrega), Capricho árabe (Tárrega); Adiós Nonino (Piazzolla); Spanish Dance No. 5 (Granados); Here, There and Everywhere (Lennon/McCartney); Georgia on My Mind (Carmichael); Summertime (Gershwin)
French guitarist Chambonnet offers a lovely disc of pieces by three Baroque masters—Couperin, Scarlatti, and J.S. Bach—all originally written for other instruments but neatly transferred to the. six-string. Crisp playing, good sound, and informative booklet.
Sonate BWV 1001 (J.S. Bach); Les Barricades mystérieuses (Couperin); 2eme suite des Piéces de Violes (Couperin); Sonates K 208, K 322; K 380; K481 (Scarlatti)
Ifergan, another Australian guitarist, ably covers repertoire stalwarts like Brouwer, Piazzolla, and Bach here, but perhaps the most interesting choices are the three numbers by the eclectic American contemporary guitarist Ralph Towner, whose work for ECM records (both solo and with the likes of John Abercrombie, Gary Burton, and Towner’s groundbreaking group, Oregon) has been quite influential on many guitarists in different genres.
Canción de cuna (Brouwer); Ojos bujos (Brouwer); Alfonsina y el Mar (Ramirez); The Reluctant Bride (Towner); Green and Golden (Towner); Beneath an Evening Sky (Towner); Prelude No. 1 (Villa-Lobos); Il Romantico (Piazzolla); Lute Suite BWV 997 (J.S. Bach)
From Her Source to the Sea: The Solo Guitar Music of Johannes Möller Matthew Fish (Soundset)
San Francisco Guitar Quartet member Matthew Fish devotes an entire CD to prolific Swedish guitarist/composer Möller, with nine of the 13 pieces being premiere recordings. A nice blend of lyrical pieces and more challenging, complex numbers, this makes a very good case for Möller’s talents as a writer.
Song to the Mother; A Star in the Sky, A Universe Within…; From Her Source to the Sea; from 24 Preludes Op. 12: Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12; The Night Flame; Nocturne Op. 16 No. 1; Ananda; Future Hope
The Russian Guitar 1800–1850 Oleg Timofeyev, John Schneiderman (Brilliant Classics)
This wonderful, comprehensive, seven-CD box covers an interesting slice of history that has probably not been on the radar of most classical guitarists. Guitarists Timofeyev and Schneiderman divvy up the labor over the seven themed discs, tackling more than 20 composers in the process, playing seven-string “Russian” guitar. There are many different styles and approaches on these pieces (many world premiere recordings), with nods to Classical, Romantic, Russian folk, and other popular idioms of the time. A soprano singer and other instrumentalists help out on some tracks, as well. Copious annotation in the accompanying booklet is interesting and helpful. This could become a great source for little-known repertoire for classical guitarists.
Disc One: The Music of Andrey Sychra; Disc Two: The Moscow School (Semion Aksionov, Mikhail Vysotsky, Alexander Vetrov); Disc Three: The Earliest Music for Russian Guitar (Ignaz von Held, Joseph Kamensky, Ludwig Sychra, Vladimir Lvov, A. Sychra, Ferdinando Antonolini, Domenico Cimarosa, A, Svientistky); Disc Four: The Music of Mikhail Vysotsky; Disc Five: The St. Petersburg School (A. Sychra, Mikhail Glinka, Michal Oginski, Pierre Rode); Disc Six: The True Romantics (Nikolai Alexandrov, Fiodor Zimmerman, Vasily Sarenko); Disc Seven: Chamber Music with the Russian Guitar (Gioachino Rossini; von Held, Maslofsky, Antoine de L’Hoyer, Piotr Naimanovsky, Vladimir Morkov, Maura Giuliani)
You can get more info here, and also listen to it on Spotify.