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“Portraits in Guitar”
Simonne Draper: Espanola – Canzonetta dell’Aria – Legenda Lila – Canzonetta dell’Alba – Canzonetta del Sonno – Finesa – La Danza dei Ritmi – Nostalgitana – Canzonetta dell’Acqua – Dolorosa – La Danza dei Bassi

Simonne Draper, Patrik Henel, Helena Slavíková (guitar), Jirí Zmek (percussion), Electric Orchestra
Recording: Harryton Studio and SD Studio, Prague, Czech Republic (2016-2018) – 40’17
MSR Classics MS 1719 – Booklet in English

This highly inviting and approachable CD will interest the listener who relishes beauties of classical guitar and trimmings of contemporary ‘pop’. Discover the world of Moravian native, Simonne Draper. After receiving a law degree at Prague’s Charles University, Mlle Draper went on to study at the Music School in Ostrava. Subsequently, she returned to Prague where she attended the Jaroslav Jezek Conservatory and received additional training under mentor and admirer, Milan Tesar.

By sampling M. Tesar’s music, one can hear similarities inside Mlle Draper’s works, though the style is distinctly her own and could be described as “soft, delectable, congenial, delicate and discerning.” This assemblage of Spanish/Italian élan doesn’t fight or challenge, rather it imposes a reliably and properly suited sense of relaxation with ever-so-light hints of modernized lustre.

Nothing Simonne Draper composes is outrageous or excessive. Espanola opens the CD with an attention-getting single-note tremolo entrée that’s clearly immersed in an Iberian theme, reflecting upon Andrés Segovia and his mild distances of intrigue. Draper’s gallery journeys through a cadre of emotions and dances, subjects both tangible and intangible which yield dimensional breadth and accessibility: Nostalgitana with its seductive gypsy-like sways or La Danza dei Ritmi’s thinly fevered rhythmic overtones, to cite a few. Many of the musical visions have been strengthened by incorporation of her own electric orchestra (i.e. the fluid Canzonetta dell’Acqua and the wistful Canzonetta dell’Alba) or by introducing Jirí Zmek’s painfully mild ‘throbbing’ effects within Dolorosa.

Teaming up with Helena Slavíková or Patrik Henel gives a composition a bit more gravity and strong persuasion. Particularly fulfilling is the Draper/Henel interlocution inside Legenda Lila that is pocketed with pensiveness and intermingled by carefree ambivalences.

Each of the Draper chapters brings with it an inescapable magnetism. Simonne Draper’s music is like looking at effervescent Faience pottery, glazed in true blue and white porcelain, signifying saturated brightness and clarity. Sound quality is unblemished. Guitar purists will find this recording hard to resist. Strongly recommended.

Christie Grimstad




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