Música para flauta y guitarra. Volumen I
Music for flute and guitar. Volume I
Mª Esther Guzmán y Luis Orden
Works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Robert Beaser, Eduardo Morales Caso, Joan Albert Amargós y Astor Piazzolla.
The guitar and flute are, without doubt, one of the most successful combinations in chamber music, especially since the 20th century. This disc is a fine example of that. In a profound, five-stage journey, Maria Esther Guzmán and Luis Orden take us through a delicious universe of sounds, timbres, multi-coloured languages and silences… From classical to popular, with impressionist, romantic and contemporary flavours. The repertoire is outstanding both in its quality and in its technical demands. Although it is nourished by the command and the personality of each instrument, the final result is a perfect blend of “instrumental independence” and the co-ordination and musicality of the duet which, like a single heartbeat, guides us wisely on this marvellous, shared journey.
The disc starts with the prolific Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Florence 1895-Beverly Hills, California 1968), who, once more, demonstrates his well-known predilection for the guitar in this “Sonatina” written in 1965. It is no coincidence that Tedesco had a close relationship with the Maestro Segovia. His life and work were shared between Italy and, after 1939, the United States, where he taught composition at the Los Angeles Conservatory. His catalogue is extensive and varied, including solo music, chamber music, orchestral, vocal, theatre and even cinema music. This apparently simple work has a high degree of technical difficulty, as both instruments constantly alternate and cede the leading part, holding a dialogue and playing on the melody. When the guitar is dense, harmonising and highly independent, the flute appears to lighten the weight of the strings and “flies” like a bird, creating a refreshingly carefree, lyrical feeling, especially in the first and third allegrettos. The fluidity of “Tempo di Siciliana” predisposes us to the quest for the neoclassical harmony that the composer himself so ardently sought.
The composer, pianist and clarinettist Joan Albert Amargós (Barcelona 1950) offers us a sample of his talent and artistic honesty in his short, popular 1996 piece, “Tango Catalá”, establishing an agile, warm communication between the flute and guitar by means of a captivating melody. Eclectic and impossible to pigeonhole, Amargós’s compositions include orchestral works, variations, requiems, cantatas and concerts for different instruments. But he has also worked with some of the great flamenco artists, including Camarón and Paco de Lucía, with jazz and Big Band, and has created some brilliant arrangements for singer-songwriters such as Serrat.
The work of Robert Beaser (Boston 1954) is an obvious homage to nature, taking us high over the Appalachian Mountains in his 1986 “Mountain Songs”. Beaser is considered a key figure among the “new tonalists”, and has created a unique style by synthesising western tradition with indigenous American traditions. He has won many awards and commissions from orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and has recorded for the Argo, New World, Music Masters and EMI-Electrola labels. Today, Beaser is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Composition at the Juilliard School of Music. “Mountain Songs” is part of a cycle of eight movements based on songs from American folklore. The popular verses are the basis for the construction of a musical architecture that is in turn classical, romantic and impressionist, but which is still valid today. An infinite number of nuances lie within the “complex simplicity” of this work, from tranquillity to dizzying speed, from harmony to contrast…The guitar and flute slowly, deliberately invoke the symbolic elements of an imaginary distant landscape, the breath of the wind, the mystery of a sunset, the gallop of a horse, the solitude of a mountain, silence… The development of this music is imbued with an overwhelming feeling of silence, broken only sporadically by the joy of dances like “Cindy” or “Quicksilver”. In general, the sounds are long, spaced out and flowing, as in the masterful “He’s gone away“, which enraptures us from the very beginning with the magical appearance of the first string of guitar chords, its varied development and the infinite, emotional farewell from the flute. The piccolo is worked into the language of these songs, bringing movements of mysterious texture and references to the cinema in “The cuckoo”. From beginning to end, this score demands extraordinary concentration and mutual understanding between the musicians, who cannot relax for a moment before the demands of so many and such subtle “invitations to the imagination”. Without doubt, Maria Esther Guzmán and Luis Orden have managed to convey the sensation that this music springs forth not just from their skill as instrumentalists, but from the very entrails of the earth.