EL ALEPH - Smaro Gregoriadou

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EL ALEPH - 20th and 21st Century Guitar Music - Smaro Gregoriadou (Guitar) - 013491349022 - Released: March 2016 - Delos DE3490

Fernande Peyrot: Préludes pour guitare
Agustin Barrios:
- Prelude in C Minor
- Las Abejas
- Aire de Zamba
- Danza Paraguaya No. 1
Manuel Ponce: Thème varié et Finale
Hans Werner Henze: Drei Tentos
Nikita Koshkin: Toccata
Sean Hickey: Tango Grotesco
René Eespere: Tactus Spiritus
Stepán Rak: Temptation of the Renaissance
Smaro Gregoriadou: El Aleph

With her first two recordings, composer and guitarist extraordinaire Smaro Gregoriadou focused our attention on the guitar as an instrument, as the intervening medium between the music and the listener, and that by physically "reinventing" and/or modifying this instrument one could better project the essence of the music. On this new recording she still uses custom built or "special" instruments, but the focus of our attention is now drawn to the beauty, quality and innovative aspects of the music itself, and her impressive musicianship.

For example, the Prelude in C Minor by the Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios has become almost a "cliché" piece, a "par for the course" for any and every guitarist to include in performance or in recordings, but the way Gregoriadou gives each and every note its proper expressive weight in relation to each other makes you want to listen to that piece over and over again. And you need to hear the joyful energy she elicits from the Danza Paraguaya No. 1 from the same composer. Unbelievable when you consider how difficult it must be to simply play that piece well. Her flawless technique well manifests itself on this one in particular. Or the way she applies a formal approach and delivery to the Temptation of the Renaissance by Stepán Rak reinforces the fact that she can easily slip into the character of any work she studies. And as far as her own composition El Aleph after Jorge Luis Borges (for guitar ensemble) featuring the group Open Source Guitars is concerned, despite being very different from the rest of the program, it certainly grabs your attention. The odd, mechanical nature of the first minute or so has a way of sticking with you all day after you've heard it.

If you are in any way interested in the guitar, and want to hear an exceptional musician capture and project its quintessence, listen to Smaro Gregoriadou.

Jean-Yves Duperron - June 2016