San Francisco Chronicle

Pepe Romero delighted a large audience in Herbst Theatre

The crystal-clear tone and dexterous technique of guitarist Pepe Romero delighted a large audience in Herbst Theatre Saturday night. The concert was the final event in the series of guitar recitals presented by San Francisoc Performances and the D'Addario Foundation. In a program of familiar pieces ranging from the 16th century to more recent times, Romero provided his listeners with an unbroken stream of graceful melodies and delicately articulgated musical textures.

Dashing off scales and melodic figures with impressive panache, be brought a winning technical virtuosity to everything he played. If his performances often seemed to draw on a narrow range of dynamics or instrumental colors, this limitation interfered only a little with the evening's enjoyment.

From the matched pair of 16th century Fantasias by Luis Milian and Alonso de Muadarra that opened the program, through the concluding trio of Albeniz transcriptions and on into the welcome encore of Tárrega's Recuredos de la Alhambra, Romero's playing was consistently engaging. A blend of elegance and formal vigor enlivened Fernando Sor's Sonata in C, as well as Mauro Giuliani's wonderfully extroverted Variations on I bin a Kohlbauern Bub.

But the best parts of the recital were the works that combined the showmanship with a moody introspection, such as Agustin Barrios Mangore's stately La Catedral, which concluded the first half, or a lovely, florid waltz by the same composer. Leading off the second half with a beautiful blend of rhythmic vitality and expressiveness was the Suite Castellano of Federico Moreno Torroba.

- Joshua Kosman, Chronicle Staff Critic


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