Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nicholas Goluses (gtr)
ALBANY 1379 (62:11)
Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy.
Variations and Fugue on la Folia d’Espagña.
Nocturnal after John Dowland.
Nicholas Goluses, who studied with Andrés Segovia and has won the Pablo Casals Award, is professor of guitar at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He begins his program with Manuel de Falla’s
Homage to Claude Debussy,
written in 1920. Although it is clear in its dedication, the music is quintessential Falla and it exudes the sunshine and bright colors of Spain. Goluses gives an energetic, persuasive, and elegant rendition of the short piece. There are comparable recordings, however. The 2004 performance on Deutsche Grammophon by Narciso Yepes is excellent, but it is part of a boxed set of Spanish music called
and would be an expensive outlay for this one track.
the title of this CD, comes from a piece that Joseph Schwantner wrote, originally for guitar and orchestra, but which is played here in an arrangement that the composer made for guitar alone. Since this is the premiere recording of this version of the piece, Goluses has the field to himself for now. He plays it with such intelligence and sensitivity that he may not have any challengers for a while. Sharon Isbin recorded the original version with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for Virgin Classics. The longest piece on this disc is Manuel Ponce’s 1929
Variations and Fugue on La Folia d’España
. Known as
in Italy and
in France, this simple folk tune has been recurrent in European music ever since the 15th century. Ponce’s 23 short variations show how his fertile mind could present it in numerous guises and with all sorts of interesting embellishments. He varies the tempos and the rhythms and decorates the original in many ways. Sometimes he gives us modern styles but he brings us back to the original theme often enough to make sure we don’t forget it. The finale is a tightly executed fugue that ties up all the loose ends. Goluses has excellent command of his instrument and he renders each variation, as well as the fugue, with sensitivity, virtuosity, and verve.
In 1963, Benjamin Britten wrote his
Nocturnal after John Dowland
for Julian Bream, who recorded it twice, the first time in the ’60s and the second in 2000. The latter recording, available from EMI Classics Imports, is a bit faster than the earlier one, but both renditions are intense and dramatic. Goluses’s reading is flowing, lyrical, and sensitive. Britten had great admiration for Dowland and used his
Come Heavy Sleep
as the basis for this
, but you don’t get to hear all of it until the end of the eighth variation. Before this, we are led through a dream world that is sometimes calm, sometimes agitated, but our journey moves on relentlessly to its appointment with the original theme. For Mikis Theodorakis, the
represented a transformation in his life. Having been a promising classical composer in Western Europe, he returned to Greece and his roots.
was originally a song cycle to poems by Yiannis Ritsos, but even without the text, it tells the story of the Greek people and their long and illustrious artistic history. The sound on this recording is clear and the diverse repertoire makes this interesting disc a good choice for the home library.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
Works on This Recording
From Afar by Joseph Schwantner
Nicholas Goluses (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1987; USA
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