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Antonio Soler: Sonata en Sol
Federico Moreno-Torroba: Allegretto (de “Sonatina”)
Manuel de Falla: La Vida Breve – del “Amor Brujo”
Ignacio Cervantes: Danzas Cubanas
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Aria
Astor Piazzolla: La Muerte del Angel
San Vicente: Canción
Gaspar Sanz: Danzas Cervantinas
Aram Khachaturian: Danza de Sable
Manuel de Falla: Danza del Molinero
Luigi Boccherini: Introducción y Fandango

Pedro Burzaco (Violin), Enrique Telleria (Bandoneón), Inaki Etxepare (Violoncello), Arantxa Regué (Castanets), Magda Requena (Castanets), Alina Zaplatina (Soprano), Orquestra de Guitarres de Barcelona, Sergi Vicente (Director)
Recording: Concert Al Palau, Barcelona, Spain (May 1, 2004) – 68’14
Ayva Música #AYV DVD 1 – Subtitles in Catalán, Spanish, English, Japanese and Russian – Booklet in Catalan, Spanish and English

Amidst a range of classical instruments, there’s one that stands out unmistakably due to the beautiful sound: the guitar. Back in 1989 Sergi Vicente conceived the plan of integrating students’ musicianship with academic studies. The infant ensemble of eight students would eventually blossom into what is now known as the Guitar Orchestra of Barcelona. Headquartered adjacent to the renowned Liceu Opera House, members of this venerable stringed enclave memorize each of the performed works, emphasizing a repertoire of Spanish music.

All selections are respectably short, keeping the recital interesting and evenly paced. Those with an ear for Iberian influences will recognize colorful excerpts of Manuel de Falla, the delightful Sonatina by Moreno-Torroba and even the catchy Danzas Cubanas complete with the guitarists’ own finger tapping percussion. Variety is certainly on the menu: on one end you’ll find Boccherini’s Italianate Introducción y Fandango featuring a polished duet of castanet players, while on the other is the 20th century modernism of Khachaturian’s fiery Danza del Sable. There’s even a spotlight for a soprano, a violinist, a violincello player and a bandonéon artist.

What makes this DVD particularly fascinating is a sense of symphonic cohesiveness. All eyes are riveted on Mr. Vicente, taking their every cue in determined and disciplined fashion. It’s no wonder this group is so great.

The venue is acoustically pleasing as is the sound quality. An excellent job is done in editing, condensing the time between numbers and displaying the title of each piece on the screen. Close-ups alternate nicely with the larger landscape shots without being obtrusive. The only hitch is the camera placement in the balcony that frequently captures silhouetted heads bobbing up and down and in and out of the aisle, an inevitable disruption.

The Guitar Orchestra of Barcelona has traveled all over the world since the new millennium, and they are now on tour in America, reaching the country’s Eastern Seaboard as well as a few southern states. Please check their calendar. If you live nearby to one of the selected cities, you’ll be entertained with strumming delight.

Christie Grimstad




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