Villa-Lobos, Sor, de Falla, Torroba, T‡rrega, etc

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: de Falla,etc,Sor,Tárrega,Torroba,Villa-Lobos
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Preludes, Songs, Homages
WORKS: Works by Villa-Lobos, Sor, Falla, Torroba, Tárrega, Brouwer,
PERFORMER: Göran Söllscher (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: 459 138-2
Why a record company wants to sell itself short is anybody’s guess. This collection is presented, patronisingly, as ‘unassuming meadow flowers’. What you get is some distinguished guitar repertoire, interspersed with ear-catching pieces by composers that will be new to most non-guitarists. Not that you learn about them from the notes, which bang on about ‘humble miniatures’ instead of giving anything so useful as information.

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The pieces are short and they share a reflective rather than flamboyant style, which Söllscher’s intimate playing catches persuasively. But what a range! Villa-Lobos’s Five Preludes are the core, brooding and restless, spaced through the recorded sequence. Three rather Schubertian Etudes by Sor offset them. Falla’s Tombeau de Debussy is like a spare, lean version of what the Frenchman’s Spanish pieces aspired to. There are finely wrought character pieces by Abel Carlevaro (particularly delicate – here’s somebody it would be good to hear more of), Eduardo Falú (a touch of Schumann though he was born in 1923), and the more familiar Leo Brouwer.

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The real lightweight content is about a quarter, and the effect of both context and performance is to heighten its impact – just what solo artistry is supposed to do. Robert Maycock