AMBROSINI Songbook for Guitar
Is it going too far to say that Claudio Ambrosini has written, in his 1975 work for solo guitar Notturno (Tombeau per Jimi H), an elegy rivalling Manuel de Falla’s Homenaje pour le tombeau de Claude Debussy? Not really; for in deploying a combination of techniques associated with blues and rock as well as classical styles – string bends, slides, harmonics, slurs and so forth – with the same heightened spatial, timbral and colouristic sensibilities exhibited in all the remarkable works on this superb recording, Ambrosini evokes a wistful lugubriousness that is as personal as it is intensely intimate.
Alberto Mesirca’s fluent, committed interpretations find a similar mood presiding over certain passages in Ambrosini’s other, more delicately rendered nocturnes, such as the Notturno con sogno. Nevertheless, he equally relishes the more florid and almost violent musical gestures that characterise much of Ambrosini’s work. Take the opening percussive Arie e danze, the hectic Rap or the agitated Priapo assiderato, exploding with string slaps and crazed trills before drifting off in a dreamy glissando. Then there are the jazzy I’mbrazilian, the Impressionistic chiaroscuro of Canzone d’ombre, the Janus-like Ciaccona in labirinto (called Ciaccona del giglio) and the witty ‘Arcimboldo docet’ (Three Holograms), in which the player coughs, sighs and kisses in duet with the guitar.
Ambrosini draws on a diverse range of styles but he does so to forge a unique language, which, in the context of the classical guitar at least, is more introverted than projecting outwards. It’s hard to believe only a handful of these pieces had previously been recorded. Harder to believe none is published – which this outstanding release surely looks set to change.