Dimitri Illarionov - Guitar Recital
Anabel Montesinos and Dimitri Illarionov have it in common that they are both outstanding performers who have won prestigious international competitions. In all other respects they are very different.
Illarionov commands attention with his fluent technique and bright basic sound, ‘in-your-face’ from the beginning of the first item – Giuliani’s Grande Ouverture. If there are few passages of tonal warmth it is at least partially because his programme offers comparatively few occasions for them – brilliance is king! Montesinos is no less fluent and flawless but her tone is rounder and more expressive. She persuades the listener to come to her and to enter her world, in which beauty and affection rule. In the exquisite shaping of her lines by the use of rubato (both short- and long-range) and dynamic shading she shows a maturity beyond her tender age – she has yet to leave her teens. This may sound rather low-key and ‘feminine’ but when strength is called for she is not found wanting.
In his programme Illarionov includes three items that are new to the RED Classical Catalogue. Roland Dyens’ Valse en skaï (skaï = patent leather. Maybe something worse than bad plastic!) is a welcome change after so many recordings of his ‘patent-leather’ tango, humorous enough in its own right. Impishness also infects Koshkin’s brief Marionette. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was until now the first to write the Guitarist’s Wohltemperierte Klavier, Book 1 (for two guitars) but the Russian composer Igor Rekhin was the first, and still the only one to do it for one guitar. He places musical integrity ahead of technical comfort, so these works will inevitable appeal to the musically discerning, rather than to guitar aficionados – which is a pity.
Montesinos remains firmly in conservative territory. The pieces by Napoléon Coste and Miguel Llobet are new to the RED Catalogue, but Llobet died in 1938 and Coste lived in the 19th century, as did all the others in this programme. There is nothing here to frighten Grandma but a great deal for relaxed enjoyment. If you already have most of the items in other recordings I urge you to listen to Montesinos – you may feel you are hearing them for the first time.
Both these recordings are splendidly recorded (Illarionov much closer in than Montesinos) and highly recommended.