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William Yeoman
Limelight, December 2007

This, the first volume in a projected series of the complete guitar music of Moreno Torroba, features two charming, picturesque suites, Castillos de España (Castles of Spain) and Puertas de Madrid (Gates of Madrid). Also included is a Preludio, Vieja Leyenda (Old Legend) and Jaranera (In Merry Mood). The beautiful miniatures, although hardly taxing from a technical standpoint, nevertheless require the utmost concentration to bring off successfully (their air of nostalgia, perhaps symptomatic of Spanish nationalism, can sound rather cloying). This young Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic does, playing cleanly and with a natural, easy virtuosity that allows her considerable musicality to capture the essence of each piece…The production and sound engineering by guitarist Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver are, as always, first-rate, while noted Segovia authority Graham Wade’s extrsordinarily detailed booklet notes are almost worth the price of this disc alone.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2007

Today the music of Federico Moreno Torroba is best known through his extensive works for solo guitar, the first major composer for the instrument who was not himself a guitarist. Born in Madrid in 1891, his early music education came from his father, a well-known organist. He went on study at the Conservatoire, and it was a meeting with the great Andres Segovia at the performance of his graduation piece that pointed him towards the possibility of writing for that instrument. He was to compose in many genres including a major addition to Spanish opera, and from the 1930's became the dominant figure is Spanish musical culture. Castillos de Espana (Castles of Spain) is a compilation of descriptive pieces written over a long period, juxtaposed in the suite to give a varied mood both in colour and tempo. Fourteen are pictured with few lasting over two minutes, though within that short cameo the music is still quite demanding. The complete work was copyrighted in 1978. Puertas de Madrid (Gates of Madrid) is a similar group of scenes, this time the seven gates to the historic city of Madrid, while at the same time encapsulating the historic time when they were built. Preludio dates from 1928 and is in waltz time; Vieja Leyenda (Old Legend) - a reflective andantino - completed when the composer was almost 80, while Jaranera (In Merry Mood) is in dance rhythm and comes from 1970. From Croatia, Ana Vidovic is one of the most sought-after guitarists on the international circuit, her playing here wonderfully atmospheric, and if her left hand shifts blemish the performances with unwanted noise, her articulation is immaculate. Her right hand obtains such clean rhythms, or can stroke out lovely colours. From Naxos's guitar headquarters in Canada, the sound is superb. This, according to the sleeve, appears to be the first volume of a Torroba series - lets hope that is true .

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