New York Times

Orchestral power and vocal lyricism!

Two guitarists who are copiously represented on records and have sizable followings gave recitals this week on consecutive evenings. Their performances suggested the diversity of interpretive and technical approaches that prevails among the instruments' exponents.

Pepe Romero's performance on Wednesday evening was not only more spontaneous and virtuosic, but also more deply considered. He soared through the quick passage work in Milan and Mudarra's Fantasias without sacrificing the music's elegance, and gave beautifully ornamented, lively accounts of nine Gaspar Sanz dances.

His coloration was subtle enough to capture the mysterious haze that opens both the Turina Sonata and the Rodrigo's Invocation y Danza, yet vivid enough to suggest both orchestral power and vocal lyricism in Tárrega's Fantasy on Themes From La Traviata.

There were a few unbashed show pieces, Tárrega's Gran Jota is a catalogue of effects (including a military drum roll, achieved by quickly strumming muted strings), and Mr. Romero reveled in it. His most astonishing offering, though, was a Bulerias by the flamenco guitarist Sabicas, which he played as an encore. The received wisdom - put about by Segovia, actually - is that classic guitarists cannot play flamenco properly. But Mr. Romero's sizzling, detailed performance fully captured the form's improvisatory, fiery spirit.

- Allan Kozinn

 

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