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Evocacion / Brent Poe Mccabe

Mccabe,Brent Poe
Release Date: 09/28/2012 
Label:  Sky Ridge Productions   Catalog #: 5638012819   Spars Code: n/a 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 0 Hours 37 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

EVOCACIÓN Brent Poe McCabe (gtr) BPM 0812 (37:04)

PERNAMBUCO Sons de Carrilhões. BROUWER Estudios Nos. 11 and 18. Canción de Cuna. ALBENIZ Mallorca. Asturias. LAURO Natalia. Andreina. El Marabino. Read more class="COMPOSER12">SOR Study No. 20, op. 31. HARRISON Serenado por Gitaro

It would be a rare classical guitarist indeed who never played any Spanish or Latin American music, and Brent Poe McCabe is no exception. Evocacion offers an attractive selection of affectionately played music from both regions. The only composer with whom I was not familiar was João Pernambuco, whose Sons de Carrihões opens the program. A typically Brazilian dance-based piece, its charming melody, first stated in a slow, free introduction, is soon taken up by the infectious rhythm and lyrical counterpoint that ensure Brazilian music’s worldwide popularity. Leo Brouwer is a prolific Cuban composer whose works cover a wide stylistic range, from folk-based to modern, and who has also written more than 40 film scores. Of the two Estudios , No.11, like some of Chopin’s Etudes, is not overtly virtuosic (No. 18 is considerably faster and more intricate), but still serves a didactic purpose: perhaps as an introduction to trills, since the central figure is built on alternating proximate notes. If this sounds drily academic, it’s not: both studies—again, like Chopin—conceal their serious purpose behind a veneer of elevated musicality. The two pieces by Isaac Albéniz are clearly Spanish/Moorish in melody; technique, which sometimes draws on flamenco-like runs and tremolo; harmony, and feeling. Although both written for the piano, they’re even better suited to the guitar: indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if many casual listeners are unaware of the music’s history, so identified is it with its “second” incarnation. McCabe’s tonal sophistication shows to good advantage in Asturias ’s middle section, with its delicate differentiation in dynamics. Venezuelan Antonio Lauro’s Natalia and Andreina are minor-key waltzes (with alternating major interludes), which support their fetching melodies with moving bass lines and interlaced accompanying figures. His El Marabino , a third waltz, has a more festive, less melancholy or sentimental character, no doubt because it’s in a major key throughout. Fernando Sor, a Spanish composer acclaimed during his lifetime as “the Beethoven of the guitar,” wrote many studies for his instrument, although he may have had a love/hate relationship with it, judging from the ironic, even disparaging remarks he sometimes made about his creations. Happily, Sor’s ambivalence didn’t prevent him from writing tunefully and idiomatically, as generations of students can attest. Study no. 20 is, to my ears, more Italian than Spanish in melodic contour, while the metrically regular triplet accompaniment gives the piece more of a “classical” cast than the lilting Brazilian or Venezuelan selections. Lou Harrison, the CD’s lone non-Hispanic composer, may not have been thoroughly “under the influence” of the Spanish style when he wrote his graceful Serenado por gitaro (interestingly, the title is given in Esperanto)—some musicians detect a subtle Asian presence, which wouldn’t be unlikely given Harrison’s partiality for music from that part of the world—but whatever the composer’s intentions, it blends nicely with the other works on the program. The final piece, Brouwer’s Canción de Cuna, is a tranquil lullaby that features a beautiful melody harmonized with lush, sometimes unusual chords and juxtaposed with atmospheric, muted pizzicatos. Its mood of peaceful reverie provides a tender close to this thoughtfully constructed program. The guitar is presented in a resonant acoustic that enhances its warmth and breadth of tone. Admittedly, Evocación is short by contemporary standards, lasting only 37:04 minutes, but it would be a shame if potential listeners overlooked it for that reason alone.

FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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