Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, May 2011

[Del Sal] presents a flawless performance…It’s the sort of recital that caused most of us to fall in love with the guitar…delightful recital that smiles.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

William Yeoman
Gramophone, May 2011

A prize-winning young guitarist presents a wide-ranging recital

It’s not often you get to hear Fernando Sor and Ennio Morricone on the same programme. But that’s just one of the attractions in this enjoyable recital by young guitarist Adriano Del Sal, 2009 winner of the Tárrega International Guitar Competition, which is held each year in Benecasim, Spain. Admittedly Carlo Marchione’s arrangement for solo guitar of the famous “Gabriel’s Oboe” from Morricone’s score for The Mission is strictly encore fare, and Del Sal does well to perform it last here, where it makes for an enjoyable after-dinner mint.

The real meat-and-potatoes is Fernando Sor’s superb Fantaisie, Op 7, and Rodrigo’s equally fine Invocación y danza, with a selection of miniatures by Tárrega serving as an entrée and Torroba’s colourful Pièces caractéristiques as a palette cleanser between courses. A serial first prize-winner in numerous international competitions, Del Sal possesses a remarkable technique and a refined musical sensibility. Thus the Tárrega is all elegance, with subtle rubato and plenty of dynamic shading; the Sor is made to feel like early Beethoven, that is to say, a combination of portentousness and charm; the Torroba is beautifully characterised (I especially enjoyed the exuberance of “Los mayos” and the generous tone of the final “Panorama”); the flamenco outbursts in the Rodrigo appropriately seem to come from a darkly smouldering core. So, another fine addition to Naxos’s Laureate Series, which has over the years brought so many wonderful young guitarists to the attention of the broader listening public.

V. Vasan, March 2011

The classical guitar is an especially challenging instrument, in that one must accompany oneself. That is, the guitarist is playing both melody and harmony at the same time, and one cannot be compromised at the expense of the other. Adriano Del Sal does a fine job of accompanying himself in this album, in which two distinct musical personalities emerge. The first half of this album features works composed in the 19th century that might be known to any classical guitar aficionado. The first set of five pieces by Francisco Tárrega are played with a delicate sensitivity that makes it clear Del Sal has paid very careful attention to the phrasing. For example, Capricho árabe and El Columpio are taken at very slow tempi, which pose the risk of making the pieces fall flat and be boring. However, Del Sal is so careful an artist that he uses the slow tempi and rubati to convey much emotion and subtle phrasing; he is clearly savoring the music. Sor’s Fantaisie begins with a dirge-like quality that is somber and mournful, and the second movement of theme and variations sound rather like a harp when played in a higher register. Perhaps the variations do not emerge as distinctly as they possibly could, even though Del Sal’s dramatic chords at the beginning of one variation are certainly exciting. The second half of the album reveals a whole new character in the artist, one that is mature, confident, and features excellent technique that never comes at the expense of musically sensitive phrasing. Torroba’s Pièces caractéristiques are written in a more modern tonality (20th century, as opposed to the previous works on the album), and the listener gets a clear sense of the chord structures beneath the flow of the melody. The last movement, “Panorama,” brilliantly revisits all of the previous movements. Joaquín Rodrigo is best known for his Concierto de Aranjuez, but the Invocación y danza is equally as enjoyable. Once again, Del Sal plays with confidence and even fire, making a growing crescendo sound like an orchestra coming to life. The complex piece requires intricate phrasing, as it sounds as though it was written for two instruments. The album concludes with Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, a piece many listeners will recognize from the film The Mission. Here, Del Sal returns to his more delicate, sensitive style of playing. This 2010 album shows an artist at work and at growth. He has promise to develop as a very complex artist.

Kevin Bryan
Halesowen News, February 2011

Award winning young Italian classical guitarist Adriano Del Sal makes his Naxos debut with an enchanting recital featuring works by many of the leading lights of the genre. Pieces by Tarrega, Sor, Torroba and Joaquin Rodrigo all provide excellent vehicles for Adriano’s impeccable technique,and the CD closes with “Gabriel’s Oboe,” the evocative composition which Ennio Morricone penned for the 1986 Robert De Niro/Jeremy Irons film, “The Mission.”

WRUV Reviews, January 2011

A collection of works either for classical guitar or transcribed for it, by composers Tarrega, Sor, Rodrigo and Morricone (for oboe). Try 2, 6, 8, 13.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group