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David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2019

Another year passes and the Serbian-born guitarist, Vojin Kocic, is the winner of yet another competition, this time the prestigious 2018 Michele Pittaluga, Alessandria. Last February I was reviewing the release that marked his 2017 victory in Heinsberg, summing up that I was not sure what his ‘bits and pieces’ programme hoped to prove. This new disc is different in containing his three works, but it immediately places the performance of Antonio José’s Sonata in competition with three other recordings already in the Naxos catalogue. So where would I place this one? Kocic is certainly technically accomplished, his left hand moving around with agility and without the annoying noise of sliding fingers. I also much enjoyed his thoughtful shaping of phrases and his choice of tempos throughout a sometimes meandering score. I particularly welcome his sensitivity in the quiet passages, the whole score having an abstractivety until we reach the outgoing brilliance of the finale. It is all very different to Isaac Albeniz’s pictures contained in his Suite espanola, the work for piano published under opus 47 and comprised of eight vistas. Here we have an arrangement by the Italian guitarist, Carlo Marchione, of four of them—Cuba, Granada, Cataluna and Sevilla—expressed in a populist style of the late nineteenth century. I have much enjoyed Kocic’s multicoloured performance that ideally captures Spain in its more sultry moments, all leading up to that ‘pop’ classic, Sevilla. Finally the less-known Fantasia-Sonata by the Portuguese-Spanish composer, Joan Manen, and intended for Andres Segovia. It is quite extended at twenty-one minutes that fall into three sections. Again I admire Kocic’s imaginative graduations of shading and his unhurried approach to the central Andante cantabile. The sound quality is an object-lesson on the art of guitar recording. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

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