Review By Rad Bennett,Soundstage.com,March 2008
When I heard the Naxos release of Venezuelan waltzes by Antiono Lauro (1917-1986), I was so excited that I wrote urging the company to put out more. Three years later, my wish has been granted, and this set is every bit as beguiling as the first one. Lauro was the first Venezuelan to finish formal guitar studies at the National Conservatory in Caracas, and though his music became familiar in South America, it was not until guitarist Alfrio Díaz played it on tour that the rest of the world became aware.
Lauro is best known for his many waltzes, but this CD shows that his talent went far beyond that genre. He wrote chromatic music, and the eighteen-and-a-half-minute Sonata on this disc is a prime example of that, as is the ten-minute Suite (Homanaje a John Duarte) that closes the program. He also wrote polyphonic music in which he explored the fugue and other European compositional forms as they could relate to the guitar. His Estudios en imitaciones are prime examples of this style.
No matter the type of music, Lauro’s compositions show him as a supreme melodist. His melodies have a singing quality that immediately establish identification with the soul of any new listener. His passion for choral music, as composer and performer, no doubt plays a great part in this impression of his purely instrumental music. Guitarists Victor Villadangos seems to breathe this music as if it is a part of his being, and the recording is intimate, crisp, and clear. No wonder -- its producer is Norbert Kraft, himself a fine guitarist.
This CD will take a listener on a new musical voyage of such exquisite beauty that he might be reluctant to return!