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Monday, March 18, 2019

Gerhard & Mompou, Complete Music for Solo Guitar, Marco Ramelli

There are programs that are so delightful that you take to them straight away and it is happy-time from then on. It may be spring but that is not sufficient to explain why I have in this way taken to Marco Ramelli's Gerhard & Mompou: Complete Music for Solo Guitar (Brilliant 95679). It's the quality of the music and the performances.

It turns out that ALL the guitar music by the Catalonian composers Federico Mompou (1893-1987) and Roberto Gerhard (1896-1970) fit comfortably on a single CD with room for a couple of short items by Emilio Pujol (1886-1980). And it is remarkable how idiomatic, how harmo-melodically folksy yet Modern the music is. Both composers sound very comfortable with and inspired by the classical guitar's capabilities.

Marco Ramelli gives us expressive beauty of tone and concentrated subtlety that seem perfectly right for this music. He does not attempt to steal the show so much as he realizes the composers' aims beautifully. And that makes sense for these works are meant not to awe with technique but to harness it to the ends of striking and chiming the immediacy of the "musical hours." We feel the time passing as if we sat alongside an old grandfather clock. Yet that feeling is not in the least tedious. It is made the more deep by the richness of melodic invention to be heard.

Nocturnal atmospherics, infectious dance-like ditties and deep meditations bounce along together nicely. The nine-part Gerhard "For Whom the Bell Tolls" ruminates on the Donne-Hemingway words and has a darkly thoughtful pull to it. Ramelli lends his revision hand to the suite and it all sounds quite well. Perhaps it is the most "Modern" of all the works here. But in any event it is all a really "authentic" thing, this music. So you just let it go by and appreciate the passing.

Ramelli for the program utilizes throughout a 1931 guitar fashioned by Barcelona's exemplary luthier, Francisco Simplicio. The instrument sounds just right for the music and it is recorded well to boot.

This album glows, it is music at least some of us (me for example) have missed, yet it is so well-played that it is worth catching whether you know this music or not. Highly recommended. A guitar must-hear for sure.

1 comment:

  1. nice. sometimes I enjoy your writing more than the music