Recent Releases Tuesday: Albums by Sabrina Vlaskalic, Ozan Saritepe, and Simon Cheong

Sabrina Vlaskalic and composer Leo Brouwer, 2015

Here’s our bi-weekly listing of some 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:

Classical Guitar
501 Canal Blvd. suite J
Richmond, CA 94804-3505

Some of these 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!

To see our previous listings, scroll to the bottom of the page.

                                                                                 —Blair Jackson

Sabrina Vlaskalic

This first CD by the exceptional young Serbian guitarist Sabrina Vlaskalic is a serious affair, with an emphasis on darker, perhaps more introspective musical regions, in a program that ranges from 19th century works by Aguado and Legnani (his Fantasia Op. 19 provides some of the disc’s few light moments), to a marvelous, confident journey through Leo Brouwer’s three-part 1990 Sonata (which the guitarist got to play for the composer a few years ago), the “Aguecheek” section of Henze’s Royal Winter Music, and a moody study by Mignone. It was recorded in the Netherlands, where she currently lives and teaches, at the historic church in Fransum. Look for an interview with Sabrina Vlaskalic in the summer issue of Classical Guitar, out in May.

Introduction and Rondo Brilliante Op. 2, No. 2 (Aguado); Estudio II (Mignone) Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Debussy (Falla); Sonata: Fandangos y Boleros, Sarabanda de Scriabin, La Toccata de Pasquini (Brouwer); Royal Winter Music: Second Sonata—Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Henze); Fantasia Op. 19 (Legnani)

So far, the CD seems to be available only through this Dutch distributor, but it can be purchased digitally through iTunes, and heard in its entirety on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music.

Here’s a video from several years ago of Vlaskalic playing Aguado’s Introduction and Rondo Brilliante:

Sonidos de Paisajes: Music of Spain
Ozan Saritepe

As you might expect from a guitarist’s album featuring “Music of Spain,” this superb Turkish player has included pieces by most of the “big” names: Albéniz, Tárrega, Falla, Torroba, et al, and even a few of the most-played numbers, such as  Asturias, Lagrima, and La vida Breve. But to his credit, Saritepe makes interesting choices with two of those three “war-horses,” supplementing Asturias with percussive cajon and compas (handclaps) during the main repeated motif (I’m not sure a short cajon solo was necessary in the middle), and playing the more flamenco-style arrangement of La vida Breve favored by Paco de Lucía. All his other selections are outstanding, and include several that are far from common, such as Tárrega’s gorgeous Adelita, Llobet’s Mazurka por Federico Buifaletti, Torroba’s Sonata-Fantasia and Mompou’s Cancion No. 6. Saritepe has sequenced the disc beautifully, mixing the styles and tempos from track to track so that each selection feels fresh when it arrives and no single mood overstays its welcome. A lovely surprise.


Asturias, Capricho Catalan, Torre Bermeja (all by Albéniz); Lagrima, Sueño, Adelita, Maria, Rosita (all by Tárrega); Mazurka por Federico Bufaletti (Llobet); La vida Breve (Falla); Cancion y Danza No. 1 (Pipo); Sonata-Fantasia (Torroba); Cancion No. 6 (Mompou)

You can hear some samples and order the CD through Saritepe’s website, or buy individual MP3s through Amazon.

And here’s a new video of Saritepe playing Tárrega’s Adelita:

Getaran Jiwa
Simon Cheong
Samsong Productions

Malaysian guitarist Cheong studied with John Duarte in England in the early 1980s and later returned to his homeland and founded the Classical Guitar Society there, and became a successful teacher and performer. So it’s not too surprising that on this disc there is a mixture of Spanish/Latin repertoire (Llobet, Rodrigo, Granados, and a hefty serving of Brouwer), but also several pieces that reflect his roots, including the premiere recording of Duarte’s appealing Variations on a Maylaysian  Song Op. 125 ‘Geteran Jiwa’  and three short pieces arranged by Cheong which, though they have Malay origins, could just as easily be European classical-guitar pieces. That’s not a criticism, as all are fine pieces, but a this is not the place to hear a fusion of classical and Asian folk styles. Still, it’s an impressive program.

Three Catalan Folksongs: Canco del Lladra, El Testament D’Amelia, El Noi de la Mare (Llobet); Danza Española No. 5 (Granados); En los Trigales (Rodrigo); Tannah Pusaka (Merican); Putera Puteri (Boyle); Mak Inang (Trad.); Variations on a Maylaysian  Song Op. 125 ‘Geteran Jiwa’ (Duarte); Five by Bouwer: Berceuse, Les Yeaux Sorciers, Elogio de la danza, A Day in November, Danza Caracteristica

Alas, we were unable to find any online audio samples from the CD, and ordering, so far, appears to be limited to Simon Cheong’s website. We will update here if other outlets to hear or buy the music become available.


Previous New CD Listings:

October 4: Jacob Cordover, Oleg Timofeyev and John Schneiderman, Arkaïtz Chambonnet, Matthew Fish, Gidi Ifergan

October 18: Norbert Kraft and Jeffrey McFadden, Steve Cowan, Katrin Endrikat, Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro, Yenne Lee, Emanuele Segre

November 1: Virginia Luque and Bojidara Kouzmanova, Jon Gjylaci, Fabiano Borges, Alfonso Baschiera, Miscelanea Guitar Quartet, J.P. McShane

November 15: Antigoni Goni, Adam Levin, Radoŝ Malidžan, Black Cedar, Lou Marinoff, Antonio Malinconico

November 22: Marcelo de la Puebla, ChromaDuo, Carsten Pedersen, Thibaut Garcia, Yiannis Giagourtas

December 13: Zsófia Boros, Andrea Bissoli, Philippe Sly & John Charles Britton, Carlos Dorado, Steven Joseph

December 27:  João Carlos Victor, Frank Wallace, Simon Thacker & Justyna Jablonska

January 10: Alberto La Rocca, Jeffrey McFadden & Michael Kolk, Stefan Koim

January 24: Fabio Zanon, Marcelo Kayath, David Norton & Cindy Spell, Jeff Gosselin

February 7: Canadian Guitar Quartet, Mats Bergström, John Sargent, Dimitris Kotronakis

February 21: James Akers & Gary Branch, Karol Samuelčík, Josef Mazan, John Lehman-Haupt

March 7: Meng Su, Raphaella Smits, Michaela Hrabankova & Gabriel Bianco, Mark Westling