Barrios; Villa-Lobos Guitar Works
To follow in the footsteps of a famous father (Carlos Bonell) is never easy - and the problem is compounded when one also faces one's debut recording. How should such a disc be programmed - popularly to boost sales, or to show one's own individuality? Perhaps the best course is to include at least one item that is not dictated by popularity, as Rossetti-Bonell does here. In a sense this is not entirely true, however, since the Vivaldi Concerto, RV425, is familiar enough in its original form, though not, perhaps, to guitar aficionados. Bach set a precedent in his reworkings of Vivaldi concertos as harpsichord solos (though not RV425), but a guitar is not a harpsichord and, no matter how skilful the arranger, the end-product must inevitably sound thinner even when some effort is made to separate tuttis from solo episodes by variation of tone colour - which Rossetti-Bonell does not make. No matter how pleasant it may be, I cannot feel this is the best way for any guitarist to demonstrate that he/she is not simply a conformist, a faithful follower of already well-beaten tourist tracks.
In the oft-recorded remainder Rossetti-Bonell shows himself to be technically assured (though there are more left-hand-finger squeaks than might be hoped for), possessed of admirable tone and musically sensitive. Said remainder is of a romantic nature, nothing of great substance, and its performance is punctuated with dwellings that are occasionally OTT and disturb the flow of the music. Rossetti-Bonell has the technical armoury to deliver a more varied and substantial programme, as I hope he does in his next recording; this one is exceptionally clear, with the right degree of acoustic space.'