Collection: Avant-Garde Guitar

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Berio,Britten,Brouwer,Takemitsu,Torres and Yocoh
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Works by Takemitsu, Britten, Berio, Brouwer, Torres and Yocoh
PERFORMER: Eduardo Fernández (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 433 076-2 DDD

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Behind the forbidding title of this disc lies a stimulating and brilliantly played recital of modern guitar pieces, not so much avant-garde (no electronics or metal files are used here) as contemporary. The six composers whose work is represented span three generations and five countries, so it’s not surprising that the music offers wide contrasts.

Britten’s Nocturnal after John Dowland, written for Julian Bream, is a highly original set of invertedvariations which work their way back to the theme, while Berio’s fast-moving Sequenza XI explodes from a deceptively gentle start into a flashing kaleidoscope of sounds, stretching the adaptability and stamina of the performer to the limits.

The four brief studies of Takemitsu’s impressionistic All in Twilight, on the other hand, are characterised by subtly varied dynamics, while both Brouwer’s La espiral eterna (The Eternal Spiral) and Mil y una caras (One Thousand and One Facets, or Faces) by Torres are concerned with organic structures. Yuquijiro Yocoh’s Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) provides a delicate postscript, in which echoes of the Japanese koto are heard.

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Fernández meets the many and varied demands of his challenging programme with breathtaking virtuosity, and is given an almost ideal recording. Lovers of the instrument adventurous enough to explore beyond the traditional Spanish and South American repertoire will find themselves well rewarded. David Michaels