The present release is the second solo album of the young German guitarist Elise Neumann. She chose to combine two seemingly different composers on this album: J.S. Bach and Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco. While at first one might have difficulty drawing a connection between the two composers, they are alike in their compositional forms. Like J.S. Bach, Castelnuevo-Tedesco wrote music in the form of the suite, but his musical ideas are completely different. Elise Neumann plays with her acclaimed warm and soulful tone on a rare instrument built by the luthier Daniel Friederich in 1969. On this recording, instrument and player form a perfect team, establishing a most natural, effortless and deeply musical interpretation of these well-known works.
A new album release by guitarist John Williams is always cause for great anticipation, not only for another opportunity to marvel at his virtuosity, but also to experience music from unheralded areas of the repertoire. EL DIABLO SUELTO is a survey of the guitar music of Venezuela, a vibrant mixture of elements from the cultures of the indigenous Indians, Spanish colonists, and the Africans originally brought to the country as slaves. Williams demonstrates a thorough understanding of the music's heritage, and his commitment is evident in performances that are dynamic and incisive. Williams' remarkable technique allows him to easily negotiate the complexities of these intensely rhythmic pieces, but his keen musical intelligence renders these accounts more than exercises of technical expertise. He skillfully wields a broad palette of tonal colors to express the rich harmonic language and beautiful melodies in works arranged by his mentor, the great Venezuelan guitarist Alirio Diaz.
Listening to a work of Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness, you recognize his characteristic style in a few measures. His music is often broadly expansive, painting sonorous landscapes that often use brass instruments to blend with and accentuate the strings. Also, while his peers experimented with serialism or highly intellectually challenging styles, Hovhaness maintained his world music-infused neo-Romantic style throughout his life. The result is an enormous body of work that are all a joy to listen to.