Federico Moreno Torroba
Agustín Barrios Mangoré
Manuel Ponce Sonatina
Antonio José Sonata
Antonio Ruiz-Pipó 3
Manuel de Falla Homenaje, pour le
tombeau de Claude Debussy
Carlos Rafael Rivera Whirler of the
Denis Azabagic - Guitar
In extending their already impressive range of classical guitar discs Naxos
has again come up trumps. The latest addition to their stable of highly capable
guitarists is the Bosnian born Denis Azabagic, who is the winner of numerous
competitions including the much coveted Guitar Foundation of America Competition
in 1998. Denis Azabagic has chosen a programme of all Spanish-speaking composers,
that is they are either from the Iberian peninsular itself or from central
and South America. A sensible balance of works is here, from the very familiar
"La catedral" of Barrios and Manuel de Falla's "Homenaje", to a new work
by Carlos Rafael Rivera "Whirler of the dance".
Denis Azabagic's reading of all of the works on this disc is equal to that
of any versions in the catalogue, it is playing of the highest calibre.
The disc opens with Torroba's "Sonatina in A", it was Torroba who first responded
to Andrés Segovia's request for composers to write for the guitar
during the early years of the 20th century and it is a particular
favourite of mine. The sumptuous central section, framed by two lively dance
movements that never fails to grab the attention, is for me at least one
of the best of Torroba's many compositions for the instrument.
Although written in1933 the four movement "Sonata" by Antonio José
rarely found itself included in concerts or on recordings, that is until
recently. Of late David Russell has featured the piece in his guitar recitals
and Julian Bream thought the work important enough to play on his last CD,
before his retirement from the recording studio. Substantial music that now
at last is getting the recognition it deserves.
Manuel Ponce was always ready to exploit the rich folk music tradition of
his native Mexico but with the "Sonatina meridional" Ponce transports us
to a place that is very much more flavoured by Spain. This, his last of five
Sonatina's for guitar written for Segovia in 1932, is cast in three relatively
short movements each descriptive of Spanish village life and bears all the
hallmarks of Ponce's unique musical style.
The Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes (1927-1997), like Segovia was eager to
attract composers to the guitar, the "3 Estancias" of Antonio Ruiz-Pipó
is one such set of pieces. Though recorded by Yepes some years ago (DG 2530
802) they since have been rather neglected. So it is with thanks to Denis
Azabgic that they are included here for us to enjoy afresh.
Although relatively young, he was born in 1970, Carlos Rafael Revera has
gained recognition as a composer influenced by folk based music as diverse
as Tibetan chant to Afro-Caribbean. Within its three movements the "Whirler
of the dance" encapsulates various traditions of folk music and though it
is the "dance" section with its dynamic African tribal rhythms that ends
this recital, it is the plaintive "Evocation" that is the heart and soul
of the work.
Everything about this disc has a high entertainment factor; anyone buying
it should not be disappointed.