Duarte, Takemitsu, Gismonti, Theodorakis, T‡rrega, etc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Duarte,etc,Gismonti,Takemitsu,Tárrega,Theodorakis
LABELS: Teldec
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Dreams of a World
WORKS: Folk-inspired music for guitar
PERFORMER: Sharon Isbin (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 3984-25736-2
Packaged like a travel diary complete with holiday snaps, Isbin’s recital claims ‘folk-inspired music’ for its theme. As long as you take that broadly enough to include the folk idioms of the cosmopolitan bourgeoisie, as well as traditional music in the usual sense, it adds up to a loosely structured and enjoyable tour of Europe and the fruits of its empire-builders, delivered with flair and lyrical feeling.

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Perhaps included as a hook, the inevitable whispering tones of Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra prove to be the only mainstream item. The main accent stays Latin, dwelling particularly in Cuba and South America with intense, sorrowful melodies from Egberto Gismonti and Antonio Lauro. But there’s an arresting Greek contrast from Mikis Theodorakis, and John Duarte’s quirky collection of Appalachian tunes, some second-hand from the Old World, gives them ingenious supportive arrangements that challenge the player’s technique rather than the limits of the melody.

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Not so Toru Takemitsu, who sets ‘Danny Boy’ to a contrived sequence of jazz-ballad harmonies with only a poetic little coda for relief. At the non-roots end of the spectrum Granados’s setting is of a tune by his son, and Naomi Shemer is an Israeli songwriter given to expansionist political statements. Robert Maycock