I’m sure I said in my last classical guitar review that if I heard another recording of Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba, I’d scream. But I’m not screaming. Which is down to the extremely persuasive musicianship of 28-year-old Montenegro-born London-based guitarist MiloŠ Karadaglic´, who alas also includes on his otherwise impressive debut recording for DG a whole bunch of guitar favourites the world’s surely heard a million times over.
Yes, it’s a good job he’s such a wonderful guitarist, because his choice of repertoire isn’t exactly going to set the world on fire. Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Albéniz’s Asturias, Llobet’s El testament de n’Amelia – even the loathsome Spanish Romance gets an airing with a super-schmaltzy arrangement for guitar and strings. I mean, come on. And yet, those new to the sound world of the classical guitar looking for a modern recording of classic repertoire more closely associated with the likes of Segovia, Williams and Bream – all idols of Karadaglic´ – will find this disc hard to beat.
There’s a fierce drive and precision tempered by a judicious use of rubato in both Asturias and the Presto of Koyunbaba, while the fragile frames of Tárrega’s Lágrima and Adelita aren’t made to bear the weight of “interpretation”. Especially fine are Albéniz’s Granada and Granados’s Andaluza and Oriental, to which Karadaglic´ brings the same delicacy of expression heard in his performances of Theodorakis’s Epitáphios Nos 3 and 4. Make no mistake: Karadaglic´ is a thoughtful, intelligent artist, as supple in his phrasing as he is generous in his use of colour. Let’s just hope his next release gives us something to really sink our teeth into.