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Joaquín Rodrigo: Junto al Generalife
Giulio Regondi: Etude n° 8 in G major
Francisco Tárrega: Preludio n° 1 – Endecha – Oremus – Rosita/Polka – Capricho arabe
Stjepan Sulek: The Troubadors Three
Isaac Albéniz: Mallorca
Benjamin Britten: Nocturnal after John Dowland, opus 70

Srdjan Bulat (Guitar)
Recording: St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada (February 15-17, 2012) – 65’ 13
Naxos #8.573026 – Booklet in English

Currently working on post graduate studies at the Music Academy in Zagreb, Croatia, Srdjan Bulat is a genuine success story. Since playing guitar at age eight, Bulat has garnered awards in numerous fêted events, and in September 2011 he won first prize in the Francisco Tárrega competition in Benecasim, Spain. This is noteworthy since five of Tárrega’s pieces are featured on this Naxos recording. The immeasurable talent of Srdjan Bulat is sheer delight. A cross-sectional choice of works range from romanticism to impressionism to 20th century modern.

Probably best known for his Concierto de Aranjuez, Joaquín Rodrigo also gave life to Granada’s famed gardens at The Alhambra in his Junto al Generalife. Anyone who has visited the Generalife Gardens can envision Rodrigo’s pacific response to such a beautiful spot, yet it has amazing change in flow and style for a piece just under six minutes. Bulat’s tremolo is razor-sharp, adding more intensity.

Srdjan Bulat graces his strings during the diminutive compositions of Francisco Tárrega, each with a distinct attitude and aura. Most familiar is the Capricho arabe, and Bulat delivers an exceptional interpretation of Tárrega’s work. Many artists push the tempo too quickly, but in Sulat’s case he holds back, allowing the Moorish diction to permeate with heightened sensuality and exotica.

Within Sulek’s The Troubadors Three we find the embedded actions occurring inside the mind of a wandering minstrel: Melancholy is pining, Sonnet is reciting and Celebration is exclaiming. The Bach-like Melancholy is veiled in religious reverence while an Elizabethan charm and courteous flair sweep through the Sonnet. Though a bit disruptive in the opening moments of the Celebration with its sharpness and pounding dissonance, it soon smoothes out during the middle section only to recapitulate in unsettledness upon the conclusion.

In subsequent contrast we return to Albéniz’s Mallorca that marks similarities to the values of contemporary Francisco Tárrega. The composition’s opening segment begins with a pensive draw and then broadens into enveloped joy typifying the Balearic Island’s splash of Iberian brightness. A da capo then returns with a somber, lethargic manner. Bulat is adroit in expressing the moods and innuendos found inside Mallorca.

The CD’s finale sidetracks to another realm: Benjamin Britten’s coeval extrapolation of John Downland’s lute. The opening has an extremely harsh intercourse, but Bulat emphasizes Britten’s demonstrative notes with unparalleled vibrancy. The staccato and chording, indicative of sleep patterns, eventually fades into requisite slumber. It is a bit plucky to include such an unexpected temper; nonetheless, it is amazingly formulated by Mr. Bulat.

Naxos has the invaluable asset of Srdjan Bulat. The album’s finishing touches equate to excellence, sophistication and clean élan.

Christie Grimstad




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