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Augustin BARRIOS (1885-1944)
Guitar Music, vol. 2: Invocación a Mi Madre (ca. 1929) [4:29] La Catedral (1921) [8:13] Confesion (1923) [4:35] Canción de la Hilandera (1933) [2:55] Oración (Plegaria) (no date available) [3:50] Madrecita (ca 1920) [2:06] La Samaritana (ca 1922) [5:00] El Sueño de la Muñequita (ca. 1920) [2:42] Contemplación (1922) [4:29] Oración Para Todos (no date available) [3:02] Minuet in B (1928) [3:20] Minuet in E (ca 1940) [2:05] Minuet in A (ca 1924) [2:05] Minuet in C (ca 1940) [1:24] Divagación en imitación al violin (ca 1914) [3:26] Variations on a theme of Tárrega (1939) [12:26]
Enno Voorhorst, guitar
Rec. 22-26 Feb 2001, St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. DDD
NAXOS 8.555718 [66:57]

Augustin Barrios was born in Paraguay in 1885. Never formally educated, there is little information about his musical training. He was known to possess no other marketable skills than his ability to play the guitar and to compose music. He used his musical talents as his livelihood for his entire life. Although he had a life-long desire to travel to the United States, his dream went unrealized. His only travels outside Latin America were a fifteen-month stay in Europe in 1934-35. A bit of a wanderer, Barrios took up residence in several Latin American states during his life, living in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil amongst others, and finally settling in El Salvador for his final years.

Barriosís music lay dormant for nearly twenty years after his death. It was not until 1977, when the famed guitarist John Williams released an album of his works that he began to get the international recognition that he richly deserved. He is now regarded as one of the fathers of the classical guitar; his music appearing on recordings and recital programs the world over. And it is no wonder. This is music of unparalleled charm and grace. Simple without being simplistic, approachable without being clichéd

Enno Voorhorst is a player of tremendous ability and above all, excellent taste. His renditions of these brief and tuneful works are practically above reproach. Were there anything at all to with which to take issue, it would be a slight tendency toward the out of tune playing of octaves, which becomes somewhat annoyingly noticeable in La Samaritana but seems to be absent in all of the other works on the disc. Perhaps one more take of this particular piece might have been a good idea.

There is much to appreciate about all of the music in this recital, but since there are so many short pieces, I will offer some comments about a few and leave the good reader to discover the other delights of his own avail. The disc opens with the lovely Invocación a Mi Madre, a beautifully eloquent tribute to the composerís mother. The suite La Catedral follows. This music is atmospheric in its programmatic depiction of the composerís visit to a cathedral. His musical depictions of the experience of approaching the magnificent building, the feeling of peace and calm once inside, and the hustle and bustle of the outside world which he encounters upon leaving are quite picturesque, and Barrios captures these images with some very evocative and captivating music.

El Sueño de la Muñequita (the Sleep of the Little Doll) is another charmer, which came into being from a real episode in the composerís life. It seems that Barrios had just gotten a new pair of leather shoes that squeaked loudly when he walked. Upon entering a friendís house wearing the new shoes, he was admonished by the young child of the house to be quiet, lest his noisy footwear wake her sleeping doll. Barrios took out his guitar and played soft music to lull the doll to sleep, and appease the child.

Ever an admirer of Beethoven, the four minuets on the recital are modeled after the great German composerís own keyboard dances. Barrios captures the spirit of the dance beautifully. Perhaps the most substantial piece of the recital is the Tárrega Variations. Tárrega was considered by Barrios to be sine qua non in the world of the guitar, and his variations are a tribute to the elder composer.

Naxos have produced a string of very successful guitar and lute discs in their splendid history, and this one ranks with the best of them. Mr. Voorhorst is a superb player, very sensitive to line and balance of voices. He is fleet of finger, and plays with a clean and forward rhythm that is at once compelling and soothing. Sound quality is of the first order, as are the very informative if somewhat overly anecdotal program notes by Rico Stover. Highly recommended to music lovers of all stripes. There is something for all tastes to enjoy here.

Kevin Sutton

see also Volume 1

Agustín Barrios Guitar Music Vol. 1 Guitar - Antigoni Goni Naxos 8.554558



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