A Guitar Weekend (APE)
A Guitar Weekend (APE)

Composer: Joaquin Rodrigo, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Isaac Albeniz, Antonio Vivaldi, Siegfried Behrend, Mauro Giuliani
Performer: Siegfried Behrend, Narciso Yepes
Orchestra: Berliner Philarmoniker, I Musici
Conductor: Reinhard Peters
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 307 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: no

01. Joaquin Rodrigo – Allegro con spirito from Concierto de Aranjuez
02. Joaquin Rodrigo – Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez
03. Joaquin Rodrigo – Allegro gentile from Concierto de Aranjuez
04. Anonymous arr. by Narciso Yepes – Romance from the film Forbidden Games
05. Heitor Villa-Lobos – Prelude No. 1 in E minor
06. Isaac Albeniz – Asturias. Leyenda from ‘Suite Espagnola’
07. Isaac Albeniz – Torre Bermeja. Serenata from ‘Piezas caraceristicas’
08. Antonio Vivaldi arr. by Siegfried Behrend – Allegro from Concerto in D major, after RV93
09. Antonio Vivaldi arr. by Siegfried Behrend – Andante Largo from Concerto in D major, after RV93
10. Antonio Vivaldi arr. by Siegfried Behrend – Allegro from Concerto in D major, after RV93
11. Mauro Giuliani – Allegro maestoso from Concerto in A major, op. 30
12. Mauro Giuliani – Andantino (Siciliano) from Concerto in A major, op. 30
13. Mauro Giuliani – Polonaise (Allegretto) from Concerto in A major, op. 30

Good Bargain CD of Excellent Guitar Music!

I’m not inclined to take seriously such collections of popular music as this “lifestyle” CD, but I bought it for a few of its specific items. After hearing it, I conclude that I got a pretty fine CD at minimal cost.

One of the problems with collections of popular classics is that they often offer only parts of larger works, such as a single movement of a symphony, concerto, or sonata. This collection mercifully avoids that problem by offering the concertos by Rodrigo, Vivaldi, and Giuliani in their entirety.

Only two guitarists are included here: Siegfried Behrend, and Narciso Yepes, both DGG artists. Likewise only two orchestras are heard: the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Reinhard Peters, and I Musici. It is hardly necessary, then, to say that all artists are top-notch. The sound is analog from the period 1965-1970, approximately, and is very well recorded.

The Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez is very well presented by the late Siegfried Behrend, the best-known German guitarist of his time (1933-1990) and a frequent recording artist for DGG. His performance, while perhaps not so radiant as those of Pepe Romero or Paco de Lucía, is still fully enjoyable, evidence that you don’t have to be Spanish to play Spanish music well. The Berlin Phil also does a good job here, though maybe a trifle too symphonic for this very coloristic music.

Narciso Yepes plays four shorter solo guitar works, including two by Albéniz, one by Villa-Lobos, and Yepes’ own “Romance,” an adaptation made famous by his performance on the soundtrack of the French film “Jeux Interdits” (Forbidden Games). Yepes’ credentials as a Spaniard are indisputable, and he brings all his Iberian musical instincts, along with his fine guitar technique and great musicality to bear upon these pieces, which blossom under his fingers.

Behrend returns to offer two 18th century concerti, by Vivaldi and Giuliani, respectively, played along with the uniquely qualified I Musici ensemble. The Vivaldi concerto is not long, but is brilliantly performed and full of excellent musical content. Giuliani’s work is larger and somewhat more modern in style, a bit more substantial overall. It, too, is beautifully performed by both soloist and ensemble. (I Musici is right at home with this kind of music, and it shows in their glowing performances.)

If you like good classical guitar music but are on a budget, then this may be just the thing for you: about 75 minutes of some of the best guitar pieces played and recorded very well.

I should note that my copy of this disk, while apparently in mint condition, has a couple of very brief flaws (as detected by Nero’s surface scan) in tracks #1 and #2 which were completely undetectable to my ears. A brief audible glitch in track #6 apparently stems from the original master tapes. These seem to be the only quality compromises on this budget-priced, but overall very good CD.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Guitar music is sorely missed in this blog!

Leave a Reply