Listening to this, the Italian-born guitarist Edoardo Catemario’s tribute to the repertoire that caused him to fall in love with the guitar and with Spain, it’s not so much the variety of tone but the spacious phrasing that immediately brings Segovia to mind. And no wonder: it was a recording of Segovia playing Tórroba which an impressionable five-year-old Catemario wore out as he played it over and over and over. Thus, he says, ‘In my childhood memories the guitar and Spain are one and the same’.
Catemario’s repertoire is broad and deep, stretching from the Baroque to the avant-garde; he also performs Romantic music on original instruments with considerable facility – witness his fine recordings of the guitar concertos of Mauro Giuliani (Arts, 2/06). So he can be forgiven for indulging himself by offering up such oft-recorded works as Albéniz’s ‘Sevilla’ and ‘Asturias’ (here in Segovia’s arrangement), Falla’s ‘Miller’s Dance’ and Tórroba’s Toriija – especially when they are played with such obvious affection and élan.
Recordings of Tórroba’s Castillos de España (how lovingly Catemario awakes the sleeping princess in the nostalgia-filled ‘Siguenza’) and Mompou’s Suite compostelana (how many guitarists so successfully manage the subtle drama of the opening toccata-like ‘Preludio’ or the blend and balance of voices in the deceptively simple ‘Coral’?) are of course always welcome. But what really clinches the deal for me here is Catemario’s muscular, vividly orchestrated Fandanguillo and Sevillana by Turina, by turns rustic and refined, intimate and panoramic. You can almost taste the olives and smell the orange blossom.