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Zane Turner
MusicWeb International, September 2009

The playing of Martinez is impeccable. He is technically adept and, more importantly, his musicianship is impressive. Scarlatti’s sonata K27 has long been a personal favourite…Despite its origins, the version by Martinez seems more idiomatic to the guitar. The challenging Prelude, Fugue and Allegro by J.S. Bach, from BWV 998, are given an empathetic reading, although some may like the Prelude at a slightly faster tempo. The embellishments are not those typically heard in guitar arrangements but are most appropriate; the same is true of the music by Scarlatti.

There are no traditional buzzing strings or metallic tonal sounds in the Tarantas so flamenco purists may grizzle. In all other aspects this is splendidly played, and demonstrates a finely developed, mature technique. Tarrega’s immortal Recuerdos de la Alhambra appears at the end of the programme. One wonders how many times this piece can be heard before being overcome by ennui? I have lost count but in the hands of a master like Martinez, all the evocation with which Tarrega imbued it appears again exquisitely unfamiliar. Played a little faster than one may speculate was Tarrega’s intention, it nonetheless conveys the inspiration that he expressed on its presentation to doña Concha for her birthday in 1899. The relatively fast rendition time of 3:44 is distorted by modification of the repeat pattern.

Fortunately David Martinez does not succumb to the current fashion and fad of playing lattice and radially-braced instruments. His guitar is from the hands of Paco Marin, Granada. It embodies the warmth and beauty of tone that is exclusively characteristic of instruments made in accordance with traditional design. One must acknowledge that regardless of the instrument’s intrinsic capabilities, its full potential can only be accessed by the likes of Martinez.

In the discography of most instruments there are undiscovered and under-recognized treasures. In the guitar genre this is one; you will return to it often.

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