ClassicsOnline Home » Guitar Recital: Baranov, Anton - PUJOL, M.D. / BRAVO, J.E. / ANGULO, E. / SANTÓRSOLA, G.
Anton Baranov is one of the foremost guitarists of his generation, having recently won both the Guitar Foundation of America and Francisco Tárrega Competitions. His programme features four composers of different generations and diverse backgrounds from Central and South America, who combine traditional elements of the guitarist’s art in the Latin-American world with a delight in experimentation. The result is a entertaining and imaginative kaleidoscope of colour and rhythm.
Beautiful and Startling
In this latest edition to Naxos Records' highly regarded Laureate Series, internationally acclaimed Russian guitarist Anton Baranov avoids the standard Baroque to Romantic to Modern guitar recital format in favor of an all-contemporary Latin American program.
Though each is unique in his own way, all four composers featured here share an experimental approach, mixing indigenous folk melodies and dance forms with a modernist interest in shifting time signatures and dissonant harmonies.
As an acknowledged virtuoso and winner of prestigious guitar competitions in Germany, Italy, Paraguay, Spain and the US, Mr. Baranov’s considerable technical precision and deep musical understanding are more than equal to the challenge of this sometimes difficult, but always intriguing set of contemporary compositions.
Guitar Recital by Anton Baranov is a must-have for guitar students and modern music aficionados alike. There is exhilaration to this music, propelled by Mr. Baranov’s virtuosic performance that recommends itself as well to the more open-minded general listener.
Highest recommendation, 10 out of 10.
- Oscar O. Veteranomore....
Anton Baranov: Guitar Recital
Máximo Diego Pujol • Javier Bravo • Eduardo Angulo • Guido Santórsola
The music of Central and South America is essential to the life-blood of the modern classical guitar. This programme features the fusion of national dances of individual countries with the modern composer’s delight in dissonance and experimentation. Four composers, of different generations and diverse backgrounds, offer fascinating compositions which look nostalgically at the traditional elements of the guitarist’s art in the Latin-American world but also advance the progress of innovative creativity and the preoccupations of the modern musician. The result is a kaleidoscope of colour and rhythm which cannot fail to entertain, to move, and to please.
Máximo Diego Pujol, born in 1957 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studied with various authorities of the guitar world including Abel Carlevaro and Leo Brouwer, graduating from the Juan José Conservatory with the degree of Superior Professor of Guitar. He has achieved distinction both as a leading recitalist and as an international composer, with his works performed by many eminent guitarists. Since 1995 he has been professor of guitar at the Manuel Falla Conservatory, Buenos Aires. His compositional output takes its inspiration from his country’s popular culture and the supreme influence of Astor Piazzolla in the evolution of the tango and other Argentinian dances.
Pujol’s Sonatine, dedicated to the guitarist Jorge Labanca, was published in 1994. The first movement is characterised by rhythmic vitality and a virtuosic energy, with the use of ingenious pedal notes to maintain the forward momentum. Beginning in five/four time, the metre changes subtly to four/four, with the occasional variation. A middle cantabile episode quietens the mood before the return of syncopated chords and lyrical moments as a means of development. The recapitulation of the main theme is modified to present an exciting finale. The slow movement, with its expressive chordal progressions, provides an elegant melody over arpeggiated accompaniment. A middle section brings in repeated chords with a rising intensity before a gentle coda. The final movement begins with two-bar repetitions of agitated chords in the key of D before broadening out into contrasting flurries of semi-quavers interspersed with chordal splashes. Before long the pedal notes featured in the first movement return, the bass resonances offering a textural contrast to the dancing rhythmic chords.
Javier Bravo, born in Buenos Aires, graduated with the Gold Medal from the Municipal Manuel de Falla Conservatory, Buenos Aires, where he studied guitar with Vicente Elías and composition with Rodolfo Daluisio. Since then he has achieved international eminence in his guitar recitals and compositions. Among Maestro Bravo’s output are various instrumental compositions as well as symphonic and electronic music.
Javier Bravo has offered these comments on his Sonata:
Porteño or porteña is a word which signifies either people born in Buenos Aires or is an adjective used as a reference concerning the city’s artistic and cultural expressions. Sonata Porteña (awarded first prize at the Andrés Segovia Competition in 1998 in Granada, Spain), was composed in 1995 and brings together musical characteristics of the tango within the formal structure of a classical sonata. The work incorporates the resources of jazz and contemporary music through a harmonic language based on a sensitive exploration of tonality. Music of a high dramatic and virtuosic content seeks to exploit the expressive resources of the instrument through a cyclical structure where the themes of the three movements are interrelated.
The Allegro ma non troppo movement, which takes the structure of the usual first movement of a sonata, is full of contrasts, combining a vigorous treatment of chromatic dissonance with gentler diatonic elements in a texture of great metric and rhythmic energy.
The second movement, of a lyrical, poetic character, brings back the melody of the second theme of the first movement in a modified form, alternating moments of tenderness with moods of great drama which flow with the characteristic phrasing of the tango along with a subtle rhythmic impulse. Its third movement, presto agitato, written in rondo form, evokes the themes and atmosphere of the previous two movements juxtaposed with passages of bravura and virtuosity, displaying the instrument’s possibilities in terms of sonority and technique.
Eduardo Angulo, born in 1954 in Puebla, Mexico, began his musical studies, aged seven, at the National Music Conservatory, Mexico City where, under the direction of Vladimir Vulfman, he began his training as a violinist. As a young man he featured in chamber music concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York and performed in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 1973, after graduating with high honours from the Mexico City Conservatory, he was awarded a scholarship by the Dutch Government to study at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague where, two years later, he was awarded the Prize for Excellence. He stayed on for a further year giving recitals with his string quartet throughout Holland and Germany. On his return to Mexico, Eduardo Angulo dedicated himself to composition, writing symphonic works, chamber and choral music, and concertos for a wide variety of instruments including violin, harp, viola, guitar, harpsichord, and flute. His music, mainly written for individual musicians and chamber groups, has been performed in the United States, Europe, and Central and South America, often with the composer in the rôle of soloist in his own concertos.
The composer has provided the following introduction to the music played here:
My Sonata No. 2, written 1993 and dedicated to the German guitarist, Michael Troester, has many similarities with my Sonata No. 1 written some twenty years before. However, it is much shorter and with fewer technical difficulties but the style, orchestral colours, and the atmosphere, are essentially the same. Both sonatas are introspective and contemplative, influenced by traditional Mexican music but without being entirely nationalistic. Both sonatas were written in a tonal language and treat the guitar technically in a traditional way.
Guido Santórsola, born in 1904 in Canosa, Italy, travelled with his family to São Paulo, Brazil, when he was five. After music lessons from his father he entered the local conservatory to study violin and composition. Later Santórsola travelled to Europe on a scholarship to further his violin playing in Naples and Trinity College of Music, London. On returning to Brazil he performed with the Paulista Quartet and played viola in the orchestra of the Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal. After a period as professor of violin, viola, and harmony, at the São Paulo Conservatory, Santórsola moved to Uruguay where he was a violist in the radio symphony orchestra, and later became professor of composition at the Montevideo Conservatory. He died in Montevideo in 1994.
Santórsola wrote more than thirty pieces for guitar as well as three guitar concertos, and also composed choral and chamber works, songs, instrumental music, and various other concertos. At different times of his development he was influenced by both Brazilian and Uruguayan national music, and experimented with twelve-tone compositions and other contemporary techniques.
Santórsola’s Sonata No. 4 (Italiana), composed in 1977, integrates a number of styles over the three movements. It begins with the lightly contemporary, the first movement being an excitingly virtuosic exercise in brilliant scale passages with some percussive effects. The second movement, Reverie, takes us back to the cantabile world of traditional Italian romanticism, profoundly introspective and melancholy in this instance. Finally Alla Tarentella offers the thrill of the traditional dance seen from the perspectives of a twentieth-century composer. Here more percussive techniques are brought in to create a brilliant tour de force of many colours and sheer guitaristic display.
Grateful acknowledgement is due to Javier Bravo and Eduardo Angelo for invaluable comments on their compositions.