Monday, January 11, 2016

Thomas Lyng Poulsen, Letters to Posterity, Heitor Villa-Lobos, The Solo Guitar Works

Heitor Villa-Lobos once said he thought of his music as letters written to posterity without expecting an answer. And appropriately guitarist Thomas Lyng Poulsen has entitled his recent two-CD set of Villa-Lobos guitar works as Letters to Posterity (CVM 002).

The program consists of Villa-Lobos' major works for solo guitar: The "Preludes," the "Etudes," his "Suite Populaire Bresilienne," "Valse Concerto No. 2," and his "Choro No. 1."

Thomas Lyng Poulsen has an abundance of technique which he puts to good use throughout, but perhaps most importantly he gives us a very musical reading of these wonderful works. There is expressiveness, a lyrical quality that includes a bit of rubato and a kind of lingering over the poignant aspects of the works. So the "Etudes," for example, show technical flourish but also a tenderness not always present when the music has a horserace-hurtling-to-the-finish-line freneticism.

This may not be how Segovia played the music. It is more matter-of-fact modern, with technique harnessed to the significant form of each piece, highlighting the hugely inventive and touching brilliance of the composer in a kind of directly lyrical sense.

It is for that reason a program that wears well, bringing out the nuances of the music so that you find yourself enmeshed in all its subtle and dynamic details, in the sheer visceral sonics of Villa-Lobos' intimate love of the classical guitar and its capabilities.

And so I recommend this to you without hesitation. These are essential works in Villa-Lobos' cannon and so too they are essential works for the modern guitar as we have come to understand it. Bravo.

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