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Ex Tenebris Lux / Alerie Hartzell

Tarrega / Ponce / Lennon / Hartzell
Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Soundset   Catalog #: 1036   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francisco TarregaManuel PonceAgustín Barrios MangoréJohn Anthony Lennon,   ... 
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



EX TENEBRIS LUX: Out Of Darkness … Into Light Valerie Hartzell (gtr) SOUNDSET 1036 (56:12) Available at valeriehartzell.com.


TÁRREGA Maria. Marieta. Adelita. Rosita. Recuerdos de la Alhambra. PONCE Guitar Sonata No. 3. BARRIOS MANGORÉ Julia Florida. J. A. LENNON Another’s Fandango. Read more MITCHELL Drift. AMELKINA-VERA Ex Tenebris


Listening to, and reviewing, CDs of classical guitarists is normally an outside excursion for most classical auditors. Unless the critic is him or herself a guitarist, or knows a classical guitarist, he or she is not likely to know too much about the technique, literature, or styles prevalent or necessary for the performance of most classical guitar music. Your prejudice will normally be influenced by who you grew up on, and enjoyed listening to most, Andrés Segovia or the Romeros. I happen to be a Romero girl, so you can take my appreciation of this disc from that perspective.


For this, her debut CD, Valerie Hartzell presents a series of works ranging from the conservative Romantic era (Francisco Tárrega, who was considered to have laid the foundations for 20th-century classical guitar) to the very modern styles of Andy Mitchell (b.1973) and Olga Amelkina-Vera (b.1976). Speaking as a highly appreciative listener who is not an expert on this repertoire, I find both her choice of material and her playing style to be outstanding. Hartzell very obviously loves her instrument and the music she plays on it. I compared her performance of the Tárrega pieces to Mats Bergstrom on Naxos 8572365, praised by Ilya Oblomov in these pages, and found Hartzell’s versions to be just as lively and idiomatic in the Spanish style. The more musically developed but subtler Ponce sonata, a piece by this composer with which I was not familiar, is given a sensitive reading. Julia Florida is a sensitive mood piece, also played well.


Where this recital picks up interest is with Another’s Fandango by John Anthony Lennon (I feel sorry for him; he always has to include his middle name so people won’t think he was the Beatle who got shot in 1980). It’s a fascinating piece, written for famed guitarist David Starobin in 1981 and using several guitar techniques as well as contrasting styles (rhythmic sections vs. arpeggiated chords, and even a pretty far-out, atmospheric coda). Hartzell proves herself to be a master at creating moods, not only here but also in Drift, an extremely lyrical piece by Andy Mitchell that he conceived as an aria for an aborted opera on King Lear. (According to the composer’s website, this seems to be the premiere recording of this piece.)


Ex Tenebris was commissioned by Hartzell from Amelkina-Vera, who describes the work as “a psychological progression from darker to lighter moods.” In some ways, it is more musically conservative than Lennon’s piece, the first half sounding like an early 20th-century classical guitar piece, albeit an interesting one. In the second half, Amelkina-Vera employs more contemporary rhythms and harmonic changes. Hartzell is adept at capturing the changing feelings of the piece as well as the technical challenges.


This is an excellent debut album from this artist, one that I strongly recommend to lovers of both Segovia and the Romeros!


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Gavotte for Guitar "Maria" by Francisco Tarrega
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Mazurkas (4) for Guitar: no 3, Marieta by Francisco Tarrega
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3.
Mazurkas (4) for Guitar: no 1 in G minor, Adelita by Francisco Tarrega
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
4.
Rosita by Francisco Tarrega
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Spain 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
5.
Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1880-1905; Spain 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for Guitar no 3 by Manuel Ponce
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Paris, France 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 17 Minutes 50 Secs. 
7.
Julia Florida by Agustín Barrios Mangoré
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; Paraguay 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
8.
Another's Fandango by John Anthony Lennon
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 8 Minutes 12 Secs. 
9.
Drift, for guitar by Andy Mitchell
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: Contemporary 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs. 
10.
Ex Tenebris, for guitar by Olga Amelkina-Vera
Performer:  Valerie Hartzell (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  KUHF Studios, Houston, Texas 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 

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