WORKS: Solo guitar music by Albéniz, Domeniconi, Granados, Llobet, Tárrega, Theodorakis & Anonymous
PERFORMER: Milos Karadaglic (guitar); English Chamber Orchestra/Paul Watkins
CATALOGUE NO: DG 477 9338
Ever since childhood fame at home in Montenegro and a subsequent prize-winning career at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Milo≥ Karadaglic has been a name to watch. His debut CD lives up to expectations. At first glance centred on core repertoire, it soon puts a memorable, individual stamp on the listening experience.
For one thing it plays to his strengths with a preponderance of lyrical, quietly tricky pieces: Karadaglic can articulate rapidly with the best of them, but what stands out even in busy textures is an unshakably serene breadth of phrasing, fluent rhythm and unforced rubato. In Spanish music this is impressively idiomatic and free of the laboured ‘Spanishness’ that non-Spaniards all too often fail to resist. Nor does he need to draw attention to his own virtuosity, and his music-making is all the more absorbing for it.
A quirkier distinction is that some of this ‘core repertoire’ – Granados, Albéniz – really belongs to the piano. His Academy teacher Michael Lewin’s superb arrangements drawn respectively from the Danzas españolas and Suite española are made to sound so natural that you might be listening to an Alicia de Larrocha of the guitar, and they sit well alongside the authentic guitar writing of Francisco Tárrega, whose music punctuates the recital. Claiming no special sympathy for Greece, he nevertheless finds the quiet desolation at the heart of Mikis Theodorakis’s Epitéphios.
For contemporary contrast, Carlo Domeniconi’s modal, improvisatory Koyunbaba suite sits alongside the Theodorakis. An interview DVD is also included with the CD, and for the download version you get Boccherini’s Fandango with strings as an extra, orchestrated like the ubiquitous, anonymous Spanish Romance on the main CD by Chris Hazell. Robert Maycock