Castelnuovo-Tedesco & Villa-Lobos Guitar Concertos

Author: 
John Duarte

Castelnuovo-Tedesco & Villa-Lobos Guitar Concertos

  • Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra No. 1
  • Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra No. 1
  • Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra

Many artists have rightly said that you shouldn't play a work unless you love it, a sermon that seems not invariably to be supported by precept. If you can't love it the next best thing is to be utterly charmed by it, perhaps an easier approach to make to Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Concerto, Op. 99. In his historic Columbia recording of it (the first guitar concerto on an LP and later reissued on HMV HLM7134, 7/78) Segovia speaks of love and, despite its 'low-tech' quality by today's standards, his version should be in the collection of every guitar-lover. In the recordings by Behrend (Contour Classics) and Williams (CBS) there is great skill but little detectable affection; in that of Romero (HMV) there are both, though affection rather than love is the keyword. Moreno's recording falls into this latter category and, like Romero's, finds orchestra responsive at every step.
There are some charming bits of invention in the Villa-Lobos Concerto but the whole somehow fails to hang together as more than an orchestrally colourful kaleidoscope whose lengthy cadenza (ironically added later, at Segovia's behest) is its summational centrepiece. Like Bream (RCA), Moreno embraces it passionately (which Williams on CBS does not quite do), occasionally at the expense of cleanness. He is one of many guitarists whose tone-quality becomes wiry as the piano-to-forte line is crossed (compare and contrast with Romero) but there is compensation in his musical commitment. In the end your choice may rest with what you want and what you have: no other record combines these two concertos.'

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