Pepe Romero plays Guitar Works

Author: 
John Duarte

Pepe Romero plays Guitar Works

  • (12) Etudes, No. 1
  • (5) Preludes
  • Suite populaire brésilienne
  • Misionera
  • (Una) Limosna por el amor de Dios (El ultimo canto
  • (12) Etudes, No. 1
  • (5) Preludes
  • Suite populaire brésilienne
  • Misionera
  • (Una) Limosna por el amor de Dios (El ultimo canto

Pepe Romero, having pretty thoroughly combed the King of Spain's musical beard, turns his attention to South America, as his Iberian forebears did some five centuries ago. The music of Villa-Lobos is of course a prime target, firmly in the sights of most present-day guitarists and there are already three other excellent CD versions of the Five Preludes (28 on LP!), though none of the Suite populaire bresilienne. I have few reservations about Romero's most beautifully played Preludes: No. 2 sounds well at his tempo, but too slow to match its dedication (one of three) to a balletic sword-fight—he follows many others in contradicting the composer's direction to approach the final chord of No. 5 via a portamento and to play it fortissimo; more gratingly, in bar 10 of the meno section of No. 5 (one of the notational shambles created by the publisher of the score) he plays A natural where everyone else has opted for the A sharp that makes better aural sense.
There are those who treat the Suite as a work of four movements (joined together by a shotgun marriage) and those who include, as Romero does, the inconsequential Chorinho, written some years later, you may, with the benefit of programming, take it or leave it. In the presence of so many complete sets of the Etudes it seems curious to detach No. 1, as here, with so much playing time left unused.
The other two items exploit Romero's mastery of tremolo: the Bustamante is a happy little piece played with greater polish but less drive than by Jorge Morel, its arranger (GMR 1002—not submitted for review). Romero plays with superb musical and technical control and his tone is exceptionally clear, refined and warmly vibratoed; only in the final two pieces do the basses sound abrasive, as they are wont to do with many South American players—'authenticity' maybe! The recording per se is splendid.'

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