LEO BROUWER - Concierto de Benicàssim

Buy CD from Amazon
LEO BROUWER - Concierto de Benicàssim - Miguel Trápaga (Guitar) - Real Filharmonia de Galicia - Oliver Díaz (Conductor) - 747313354276 - Released: April 2016 - Naxos 8.573542

Leo Brouwer: Concierto de Benicàssim
Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
Frank Martin: Guitare

The headlining work on this new Naxos recording is the Concierto de Benicàssim by Leo Brouwer (b. 1939). And for good reason. For one thing this is its world première appearance on record, and that's always a good thing for us constantly looking for new pieces of music to listen to. And it also happens to be an excellent new addition to the works for guitar and orchestra category. Although in this case the guitar acts more as an extension of the orchestra rather than its front and center shining star. The writing blends it right into the orchestral fabric and by doing so creates some sonically interesting textures and colors. The main recurring idea of the first movement for example is profoundly melancholic and deeply moving. It constantly haunts my working hours. And that effect is amplified by the sound of the guitar over a bed of strings. And the slow movement, in its own hushed or subdued manner, is certainly very evocative. It has a cinematic soundtrack feel to it and would make a perfect backdrop track to a tragic love story somehow. Sort of like what the Stanley Myers 'Cavatina' achieved in the film The Deer Hunter, but in a very different way.

Having said all that, what constantly keeps me coming back to this CD for one more listen, is the way guitarist Miguel Trápaga and conductor Oliver Díaz perform the iconic Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999). They seem to expose its Spanish folkloric roots better than most and bring out its chimerical and visionary character. The orchestra members exude the joy found in the first movement and well express the sadness of the Adagio. Miguel Trápaga embodies this slow movement's passion and achieves greater expression by somehow altering the sound of his instrument at critical moments to emphasize the musical narrative. Well done. Even if you already have other recordings of the Rodrigo, this one's a keeper!

Below is a short video clip featuring the conclusion of the first movement from the Concierto de Benicàssim.

Jean-Yves Duperron - August 2016