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Phillip Scott
Fanfare, May 2017

Bissoli’s musicological research would be only of academic interest if his performances were cautious or dull. Happily, they are anything but. He is a brilliant guitarist, and plays with vitality and élan, equally determined to recreate the fire of the composer’s inspiration as he is to unearth forgotten works.

The Minas Gerais Philharmonic under its founding conductor Fabio Mechetti gives nuanced and enjoyably mellow performances of the orchestral works that are interspersed throughout these programs. The two soprano soloists shine and provide a neat timbral contrast. Lia Serafini’s warm, rich sound is beautifully captured with plenty of space around it, while Gabriella Pace, whose soprano is lighter, brings understanding and passionate expression to the luscious Canção do Amor. (Both sopranos sing this song; Pace gets an orchestral backing, whereas Serafini is accompanied by guitar.) As you would expect, Bissoli’s notes are well researched, and are packed with fascinating anecdotes, notably those concerning Villa-Lobos’s professional and personal relationship with Segovia. With transparent, warm sound to top it off, this three-volume release proves to be a great success. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Alan Fark
Minor 7th, May 2017

Villa-Lobos’ prolific nature is epitomized in this Naxos 2016 3-CD collection of his guitar compositions, The Complete Guitar Manuscripts, lovingly collated, researched and performed by Italian guitarist Andrea Bissoli.

As Bissoli explains in his excellent liner notes to this collection, many Villa-Lobos scores are “lost” (the 6th Prelude being one example)…Bissoli seems to have made it his life’s work to locate and record as many of these lost, obscure or otherwise forgotten pieces as possible. On this collection, Bissoli interprets five world premiere recordings of Villa-Lobos manuscripts, including fourteen folksong arrangements from Guia Prático. Bissoli also offers a completion of the unfinished rediscovered manuscript of “Valsa Concerto No. 2,” and his own transcription of “Dime Perché,” perhaps one of Villa-Lobos’ earliest works from 1901 for piano. Characteristic of his iconoclastic personality, Villa-Lobos responded to a commission to write a Hollywood score for the film Green Mansions in 1959, but he was unhappy with the final film version. The score was edited into a cantata, “Forest of the Amazon,” and two of its voice and guitar numbers appear on this collection. Despite Bissoli’s passion to unearth the more obscure Villa-Lobos annals, it’s his amazing interpretations of Villa-Lobos’ grand, recognizable and booming musical declarations on these discs that I find most pleasing to the ear: the Guitar Concerto commissioned by Segovia and performed with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, Introducão aos Choros, and Choros No. 1. © 2017 Minor 7th Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2017

…this is a very rewarding anthology of works for those new to Villa-Lobos as well as the seasoned listener. Andrea Bissoli and his collaborators give us a stirring view of the considered yet spirited music of the master. There is enough here that is new or re-arranged to supply anyone interested and following the composer’s output with a fresh take.

Highly recommended! © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Roberto Brusotti
Musica, March 2017

The young guitarist shows he has internalised deeply the peculiarity of Villa-Lobos’s language and aesthetic, translating them into an intense phrasing, full of nuance. © 2017 Musica




Ermanno Brignolo
Seicorde, December 2016

Bissoli surrounded himself with first-rate collaborators and has given life to a work that sparkles with excellence from every angle. Hats off! © 2016 Seicorde



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2016

Over the three years beginning in 2013, Naxos have each year issued an instalment in the complete guitar manuscripts of Heitor Villa-Lobos, some thought to be lost. As I wrote at the time of issue, he was not intrinsically a guitar composer, and in his vast output of scores, those for the instrument are quite few in number and can be comfortably contained within three CDs. Indeed in the lead-up to this release, a number of scores that were thought to be lost has magically resurfaced. Yet with the affectionate relationship between the instrument and South Americans, it seems strange to relate that he was already thirty-seven when a meeting with the legendary guitarist, Andrés Segovia, awakened him to the potential of composing for the instrument. That evening in Paris resulted in a request from Segovia for works for him to perform, the twelve Etudes completed in 1928 being one of the early results, and it was to continue through to the Guitar Concerto composed towards the end of his life. It is here given a sparkling performance from Andrea Bissoli, the creator of this whole project, and Brazil’s Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra then add almost half of the second disc in a colourful performance of the Choros No. 6. There are a number of chamber music pieces, including the composer’s guitar and voice arrangement of the popular Fifth of the Bachianas Brasileiras, much of the remaining space taken by solo guitar works, the Etudes occupying some 40 minutes. They are technically demanding, and end with an outgoing display of brilliance that is the perfect vehicle to demonstrate Bissoli’s clean-cut playing. The three disc set has prompted a welcome return to the discs I reviewed when they were released, though hearing all three in succession has brought an added admiration for the music, the sound always of a pleasing quality. They come as individual discs in standard jewel cases, the three contained in a cardboard slip-case, and are at a reduced Naxos budget price. Recommended. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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