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This CD booklet argues passionately that the musicologist’s 19th-century Urtext pedantry cuts off baroque music from its wellspring in popular music – fair comment in the case of the baroque guitar – and more radically, that we must ‘confidently use the technical resources of our own instruments ... to overcome the leap which divides the historical reconstruction from the living music’. At which the purist will give a deep sigh, fearing just one more Gaspar-Sanz-with-bongos CD.

Indeed, the players have included about the most avant-garde pieces in the historical plucked repertoire: Santiago de Murcia’s ‘Cumbées’ (the first piece in guitar history to call for drumming on the soundboard), Kapsberger’s ‘Arpeggiata’, ‘Capona’ and ‘Colassione’; plus cross-cultural items, an eastern makam and a Basque fandango. But fear not, there is plenty of intelligent, sensitive and virtuosic playing from Solinís and his friends. An unexpected treat was a solo baroque guitar rendition of four of Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas. Solinís’ grounds for this is that Scarlatti borrowed guitar effects in his compositions, but he hardly needed the excuse: the sweetness of tone and touch of the baroque guitar would be justification enough for the transcriptions. It’s the pizzicato jazz violone, more than the percussion, that reminds us of a night club; and, in fact, many tracks are solo baroque guitar anyway. Highly recommended.

Chris Goodwin Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing