WORKS: Five Bagatelles; Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003 (transcr. Hall); Sonatina; Invocación y danza; Fantaisie hongroise, Op. 65/1
PERFORMER: Nicola Hall (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 440 678-2 DDD
These are highly successful recital discs from two artists of the front rank, aided by clear and atmospheric recorded sound. Pepe Romero concentrates on the repertoire of his native Spain, featuring music by both well-known and neglected composers.
His programme has been carefully chosen to provide a satisfying recital sequence, contrasting some exciting large-scale virtuoso pieces, Tárrega’s Gran jota for instance, with classical works such as Turina’s Sonata, and including charming miniatures from the Renaissance through to our own century. There is also the first ever recording of Fernando Sor’s Fantasia, a substantial piece covering a wide emotional range and using the full potential of the instrument. Torroba and Rodrigo provide the only overlap with Nicola Hall’s recital, though in different music; her programme is equally imaginative and satisfying.
The masterly Five Bagatelles for solo guitar (1971) explode the myth that Walton’s powers diminished in his final years, and Hall captures the music’s mood and style perfectly. She plays her own highly effective transcription of Bach’s A minor Sonata for unaccompanied violin, while her performance of Torroba’s Sonatina exactly captures the restraint and charm of the music. The splendid single-movement pieces by Rodrigo and Mertz are projected with great personality too. Terry Barfoot