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Roy Westbrook
MusicWeb International, February 2018

Not knowing this music, but being very pleased to get to know it, I must say I found it hard to imagine a more ingratiating performance than this one by the Chilean vihuelist José Antonio Escobar. The performances are all so clean, always precise in swift scales and complex figuration, and making light of the most elaborate passages. There is not a fingerboard squeak to be heard anywhere. The sound is nicely caught in a warm acoustic, close enough to feel intimate but not so close as to become wearying. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Millennium of Music, April 2016

Escobar’s playing is clear and expressive, and he creates a variety of moods from the lively to the slow and reflective. He adds his own ornaments sparingly—an upper mordent here and a lower mordent there—and a flourish in the repeat of Pavana 1. He articulates chords to good effect, for example in Fantasia 19. He sounds fine when he keeps the rhythm steady, and he has a nicely paced ending to Fantasia 7… © 2016 Millennium of Music Read complete review

Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, March 2016

Milan’s counterpoint is graceful and melodic, and his fantasias are lovely. Escobar plays with a full (for vihuela, a notoriously delicate instrument) and varied sound, technical fluency, and grace. This, of course, is a recording most valuable for reference. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, January 2016

…there’s no denying the loveliness of [Escobar’s] playing. His touch is very clean, in the sense that the extra-musical noises one sometimes encounters on discs of music for plucked instruments are virtually absent here. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Al Kunze
Soundboard, December 2015

Escobar’s performances are of the highest level. He possesses all the facility needed for the works but also has a most refined ear, demonstrated throughout, and of vital importance in the many chordal passages.

[He] plays a vihuela by Julio Castaños of Malaga. His sound—I have no idea if he uses nails or flesh—is gentle and lovely. © 2015 Soundboard Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2015

José Antonio Escobar gives us some lovely performances of the music… The vihuela sounds wonderful…and Milan’s music is well constructed and melodically vibrant, bringing out the instrument’s special sound quite vividly.

Maestro Escobar does a very fine job with the music and the CD has pristine clarity of sound and presence. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Stephen Smoliar, July 2015

Escobar is clearly up to [the] task, particularly as far as dexterity is concerned. However, there is more for the listener than just marveling at that dexterity. There is also some sense that different modes are appropriate to different frames of mind. On the other hand, [listeners] can just as easily enjoy this recording as a tour through the abundant repertoire of tropes through which Renaissance music came to establish its own characteristic forms of expression! © 2015 Read complete review

Salvatore Pichireddu
artistxite, July 2015

José Antonio Escobar…shines with his remarkably clean technique and tasteful and cautious ornamentation. The fantasías and pavanes presented here provide a comprehensive idea of the range of expression possible with this instrument, and mix of homophone and polyphone passages typical for the period. For those in the know and lovers of renaissance music, this album is a delicious little morsel. © 2015 artistxite Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2015

The Vihuela, the forerunner of today’s classical guitar, existed in the early 15th century, though the instrument’s first surviving music comes from Luys Milán. It was published in 1536 with the title Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El Maestro, its layout at first suggesting a teaching manual of increasing difficulty, though the starting point would require a player well versed in the instrument. As we know few details of his life, their exact intentions will always be open to debate. The First Book contains twenty-eight works, set out in three groups of Fantasias followed by six Pavana. Most are quite short and require agility in both hands to add a decoration onto the basic melodic idea. As such they are attractive, never overstaying their welcome, and with sufficient change of character as to retain our interest. Further than that I would add that the playing of the Chilean-born, José Antonio Escobar, is spotlessly clean, his career to date centering on his reputation as an outstanding classical guitarist, who also has an interest in early instruments of the guitar family. So, with my apology to Escobar, who was wanting to bring the vihuela to our attention, I can only report that, as here recorded, you will take this to be a lightly-toned modern guitar disc revealing the beauty of Milán’s pieces. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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