About this Recording
8.573514 - MOREL, J.: Guitar Music - Sonatina / Danza Brasilera / Pampero / Danza in E Minor / Giga Criolla (Refik-Kaya)

Jorge Morel (b. 1931)
Guitar Music: Danza Brasilera • Milonga del Viento • Danza in E minor • Otro Tango, Buenos Aires • Sonatina • Prelude and Dance (to Celil Refik-Kaya) • Romance Criollo • Little Rhapsody • A Mi Barrio • Homage to Latin Music (Salsa) • Pampero • Giga Criolla • Misionera (Bustamente, arr. Morel)


Jorge Morel, Argentinian guitarist and composer, born in Buenos Aires, 9th May, 1931, for many years took the family name of Scibona. However, when he left Argentina in October, 1957, his friend Rosalinda Ricatti, a young Italian actress who died of a heart attack two years later, suggested he should assume a simpler name to become known to the public. As he explained later, ‘I kept the name in her memory’.

Jorge Morel began learning guitar with his father at the age of seven. From 1945 he studied with Pablo Escobar at the Academy of Music in Buenos Aires, making his professional debut at the age of sixteen. Morel first went to the United States in 1961 when he played at Carnegie Hall. This was followed by extensive tours throughout the United States and Latin America. He made his first European appearance with a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London, in October, 1979, with a further concert in Edinburgh. Guitar magazine described him as ‘a consummate and virtuoso artist, whose vast repertoire ranges from his own compositions and arrangements of his native gaucho music, to Broadway classics, jazz standards, and the more traditional classical guitar repertoire’.

This recording celebrates Jorge Morel’s compositions. As a guitarist/composer Morel has continued in the great tradition which extends among fretted instrumentalists from Milan and Dowland, to Tarrega and Barrios, and in the modern age is continued by artists such as Brouwer, Domeniconi, and Dyens. His pieces are regularly performed by a number of international recitalists including Angel Romero, Jason Vieaux, Eliot Fisk, David Russell, and others.

Jorge Morel brings to the guitar the colourful vibrancy of Latin America and the sophistication of North America. The instrument in his hands is virtuosic but rooted in the vivid popular folk-music of Morel’s early background blended with contemporary modes of expression. His music has dynamic qualities which attract a wide audience. The immediacy of his compositions is based on rhythmic energy and an awareness of the power of authentic melodic lines. His output is amazingly varied in content, a musical microcosm exploring a range of emotions from ecstasy to tragedy.

Danza Brasilera, written in the 1970s, has proved to be one of the most popular of Jorge Morel’s compositions. Marked Allegro (Tempo di Samba), this piece combines rhythmic chords with dazzling arpeggio patterns and snatches of catchy melody. The essence of Brazilian music is re-created in this memorable work with its echoes of sambas and choros.

In contrast Milonga del Viento (Milonga of the Wind) is a gently lyrical piece. The milonga, a song genre of Uruguay and Argentina, may be light-hearted in mood but often possesses, as here, a touch of melancholic poignancy.

Danza in E minor, composed during a visit to England in 1979–1980, has long been established as one of Morel’s finest recital works. Founded on expressive arpeggio patterns and short scale runs, it involves a blend of techniques recalling similar studies in the past by composers such as Fernando Sor. However, this is truly much more than an etude and constitutes a concert solo of substance and beauty.

The Argentinian tango in terms of the solo guitar is full of surprises. Otro Tango, Buenos Aires (Another Tango, Buenos Aires) is packed with diverse guitaristic textures and complex techniques. But the life-force of the tango pulses subtly through the work.

Prelude and Dance have their premiere recording here in a graceful tribute to Celil Refik Kaya. The work moves from the slightly sad eloquence of the Prelude to the elegant filigree of the Dance.

Sonatina, in three movements, is dedicated to David Russell. Jorge Morel has commented: “David and I met in 1979 in England. I stayed with him for a couple of days and he went through my music and found the Sonatina manuscript. He sight-read the piece and was taken by it. He said, ‘I like it! I want to play it!’ So I put his name on the dedication right away. He played it all over the world for many years… The Sonatina was a departure from my style … a little bit more classical, I would say. But still has a little bit of that Latin-American feeling there—I can’t get rid of it; I don’t want to get rid of it!”

Romance Criollo returns to the reflective aspects of Morel’s music, a lyrical lament. Homage to Latin Music (Salsa) takes us to extrovert dance rhythms, a scenario of optimism and living in the moment. Little Rhapsody, dedicated to David Russell and first published in 1996, is a virtuosic performance piece with energetic chordal patterns, rapid scales, contrapuntal writing, and an expressive slow episode before the recapitulation of the first theme. A lively coda with strummed chords and brilliant arpeggios provides an exciting climax.

The pampero is the name of a strong, cold southwesterly wind in South America, blowing from the Andes across the pampas towards the Atlantic, while the pampas are the vast treeless plains of Argentina. Pampero first published in 1985, is a depiction of Jorge Morel’s homeland in which can be sensed the loneliness of the plains as well as elements of Argentinian popular music.

A Mi Barrio is a reference to the barrio, a city neighbourhood defined by its geographical location, its inhabitants, and its social history. Buenos Aires has no fewer than forty-six distinctive barrios, the oldest being San Telmo and La Boca.

Giga Criolla represents the other side to Romance Criollo, the vivacious, temperamental Creole characteristics as opposed to the meditative or the melancholy. The piece has moments of introspection but the irrepressible energy of the opening soon returns.

Fernando Bustamante (1915–1979), composer and pianist, born in the neighbourhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires, moved with his family as an infant to the barrio Villa Luro, where he spent most of his life. His most famous composition, Misionera, refers to the Misiones region of Latin America that extends between Paraguay and Brazil. Jorge Morel’s transcription has become one of the most popular arrangements world-wide.

Graham Wade


I am happy and honoured to have Celil Refik Kaya performing my music on this CD.

Not only his technical ability, which is wonderful but the feeling he puts in each piece is what I always hope for. Thank you Celil for giving me such a great honour and such a great pleasure.

Jorge Morel
Orlando, Florida, December 2015

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