Recent Releases Tuesday: New Albums by Michal Svoboda and Izhar Elias
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:
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.
La Búsqueda Michal Svoboda
On this impressive and satisfying disc (the title translates as “The Quest”), Czech guitarist Michal Svoboda splits the 15-track program between just two composers: Agustín Barrios and Miguel Llobet, who were contemporaries who lived and (mostly) worked thousands of miles apart (in South America and Spain respectively), yet definitely seemed to share similar late-Romantic leanings and affection for the folk music of each’s homeland. They make for a good match on this album, which contains fine versions of many popular numbers, such as Barrios’ Danza paraguaya No 1, Choro da saudade, and Un Sueñoen la Floresta, and Llobet’s Romanza and six of the 15 Canciones populares Catalanas, including the sublime El noi de la mare and Cançó del lladre. Llobet’s variations on a theme by Sor, which closes the disc, feels slightly out of place stylistically with most of what precedes it, but it does give Svoboda the opportunity to to display his considerable skills as a virtuosic guitarist.
Barrios: Oración Para Todos; Mazurka Apasionada; Danza paraguaya No. 1; Choro da saudade; Las Abejas; Medallón Antiguo; Un Sueño en la Floresta. Llobet: Romanza; Canciones populares Catalanas—la nit de Nadal, Cançó del lladre, El Nestre, El noi de la mare, El testament d’Amelia, La filadora; Variaciones sobre un tema de Sor, Op. 15
Here’s a promotional teaser that gives you a taste of what the CD is like:
Guitar Vibes: Music for Guitar and Strings Izhar Elias, et al
I first heard Dutch guitarist Izhar Elias at the Guitar Foundation of America convention in Denver in 2016 playing pieces by Francesco Corbetta (1616–1681) on five-course (ten-string) Baroque guitar. This new CD is not that at all! Indeed, it consists of four modern pieces featuring Elias playing with different aggregations of strings, including the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (on Leo Brouwer’s Tres Danzas Concertantes), Holland’s Matangi Quartet, and one track (Florian Magnus Maier’s Schattenspiel) that includes the quartet, double-bass, “Moog guitar” drums and percussion. Needless to say, there is plenty of variety here, from the sonorous to the abstract; eerie to sublime. As Elias says in the liner notes, “You will heard influences from classical music, avant-garde, Caribbean music, Spanish folklore, flamenco, Arabic music, blues Argentinian tango, and even trip-hop and heavy metal.” My own favorites are the Brouwer and the Pujol which incorporate so many moods (especially the latter, which is based on Picasso’s epic “Guernica” painting which I enjoyed at NY’s Museum of Modern Art for decades before it was returned to Spain a while back), but each piece has something to recommend it. An admirable effort all around.
Tres Danzas Concertantes (Brouwer); Guernica suite (Pujol); Tríptico (Sierra); Schattenspiel, Suite II (Maier)