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Paul Fowles
Classical Guitar

“A quality collectors release from a specialist performer of the highest caliber. “

Cuban guitarist Marco Tamayo is widely recognized as a Giuliani interpreter, his premier of several unpublished works on a period instrumental at Alessandria in 2002 taking place during the same ceremony at which he scooped the coveted MauroGuiliani Prize. For this latest installment from Naxos, he performs on a modern instrument by Paco Marin of Granada, whose light and focused sound proves well-suited to the fingerboard acrobatics that occupy much of the 75 minutes’ playing time.

To revive a quaint old Lancashire expression, the Sonata Eroica is ‘neither breakfast-time nor Eastern’ insofar as it is too large to serve as an effective stylistic parody in the spirit of Grand Overture, and yet not sufficiently developed to meet the formal requirements of a full-on sonata in the classical/romantic sense. I seem to recall that this was one of the few topics on which I sang from the same hymn sheet as the late John W. Duarte. But all credit to Tamayo for providing a dashing yet tasteful account that runs its course in what appears to be a fraction of the stated 13’’19’.

This same mix of skill and sensitivity is maintained throughout the Op.102 variations and even succeeds in holding the listener’s attention during the prolonged excursion into the world of Potpourri, a commercially-driven form that had its raison d’etre at the time but is harder to justify two centuries down the line. In contrast to these unwieldy medleys is the delightful three-minute Fughetta Op.113 which, although something of an away fixture for Giuliani, shows him to be quietly adept in those dark arts of counterpoint that left us initially stumped but ultimately triumphant in ‘O’ level music classes. Nowadays, such essential coaching has been not so much complemented as totally obliterated by the arrival of cool keyboards and other hip hardware, more’s the pity. Giuliani is back on home turf with the joyful set of variations on I bin a Kohlbauern Bub, the title of which translates, according to Colin Cooper’s programme notes, as ‘I am a cabbage farm boy’. Perhaps not the greatest chat-up line of all the time, but the tune provides a worthy framework for Giuliani at his most engagingly garrulous.

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