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REVIEW

chance of studying all sixty of the composers Studi I can guarantee that Porqueddu can, with good reason, be considered a true titan of the guitar! In the production of the six Barrios CDs (more or less 380 minutes of music) Porqueddu incorporated three different guitars, made use of two different locations (two churches) and took a period of around nineteen months (from February 2009 to September 2010). Just looking at these figures one gets an idea of the energy he invested in the project. The six CDs contain all the known solo tracks by Barrios, set out alphabetically in the same manner as they appear in the two-volume edition produced by Rico Stover for Mel Bay, and numbered in the different discs independently of their style or content. It would, however, have been difficult to group the 104 pieces in any other more systematic or logical way. Barrios works can in fact be classified according to styles which are quite different from each other. There are folk-inspired tracks, which remind one of ancient languages and ages, those which are more purely inspired by romance, and also as a contrast to these, heavy tracks like Studi, concert tracks, intimate pieces and dance forms. All in all a real melting pot of music which is displayed for the first time in a 360 degree panorama. Up to now I have spoken about numbers and facts, now I want to discuss feelings. What strikes you from the very start is the excellent quality of the recording; the sound of Porqueddu, lyrical, defined and energetic, unreservedly tracing the melodies of Barrios, skilfully reciting the pages containing the purest virtuosity, and stripping the most kitsch pages of

Cristiano Porqueddu Agustin Barrios Mangore. Complete Music for Solo Guitar
Brilliant Classics, 9204 (Box 6 CD) 2010

Il fronimo Guitar magazine Founded by Ruggero Chiesa Il Dialogo editions Milan No. 154, 39th year

Unexpectedly, the heavy box set of six CDs dedicated to Barrios (Agustin) lands on our desk. This is a fantastic production by Cristiano Porqueddu for Brilliant Classics, and the play list deliberately detailed with unabridged works, monographs and the like. This Sardinian Guitarist from the region of Nuoro is not, in fact, new to astonishing endeavours; one only has to remember the unabridged Studi of Angelo Gilardino. Having had the

excessive frills to give them back their musical essence. It is not a recital which surrenders too much to dreams or visions (and perhaps in some pieces with particularly strong folk influences one hears a certain academic excess) but overall it is an interpretative choice which refuses the artistic messages of the Paraguayan composer with exemplary clarity. We also confess to having discovered moments of great interest and good musical stature hiding amongst the folds of an unpublished Barrios, one of the pieces included here for the first time. Our absolute favourite however were the tracks with original inspiration, which are probably born of a great passion for the romance of the piano and which are in our opinion the greatest part of the production, both those inspired by folk music and those not. The beautiful Choro da Saudade, some of the Estudios, the mendelssohnesque barcarola Julia Florida, La Catedral (obviously), the beautiful Preludes, especially those in minor tones, the Mazurca Apassionata (thus written). The mammoth work by Porqueddu is probably more useful for discovering pieces which may be testing artistically but have great musical effect, which were not yet part of his current repertoire. I am thinking of the exquisite Diana Guarani, or to the first of the 104 tracks, titled simply A mi madre, or to the dark Romance de la india muerta. Porqueddus interpretation usefully reminds us, as I already mentioned, of his solid and academic musical training, which allows him to better manipulate the most structured tracks but doesnt prevent him from being convincing even when the most intense colours are tinged with apollonian frugality. There are no instances of

fatigue or of technical uncertainty, sound and rhythm control are always excellent, and there is great virtuosity when required. Overall a work not only exceptional from a technicalinstrumental point of view, but also perfectly focussed with regard to interpretative knowledge and enjoyability. We are sure that the six CDs by Porqueddu will speak for themselves in all four corners of the globe. Francesco Biraghi
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