Santiago Lascurain | 20th Century Guitar Recital

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20th Century Guitar Recital

by Santiago Lascurain

An exquisite intelectual approach to modern guitar music is something you may expect from this top-quality recording of Falla, Britten, Ponce, Martin and Ginastera! A great debut of the Mexican guitarist Santiago Lascurain.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Homenaje. Tombeau Sur La Morte De Claude Debussy
3:05 $0.99
2. Quatre Pièces Brèves: I. Prélude
2:39 $0.99
3. Quatre Pièces Brèves: II. Air
2:11 $0.99
4. Quatre Pièces Brèves: III. Plainte
2:45 $0.99
5. Quatre Pièces Brèves: IV. Comme Une Gigue
2:40 $0.99
6. Thème Varié Et Finale
9:54 $0.99
7. Nocturnal After John Dowland, Op. 70
19:39 $0.99
8. Sonata for Guitar Op. 47: I. Esordio
4:14 $0.99
9. Sonata for Guitar Op. 47: II. Scherzo
3:12 $0.99
10. Sonata for Guitar Op. 47: III. Canto
4:09 $0.99
11. Sonata for Guitar Op. 47: IV. Finale
2:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Composers of the Romantic era developed their language using classical structures. However, their deeply engraved belief that music had to give voice to their subjective world of experience greatly expanded these classical carcasses, which ended up collapsing and creating new forms and means of musical expression. The innovative ideas of Debussy and the effort to push the boundaries of harmonic meaning by late romantic German composers prepared the scene for the first transcendent composers of the 20th century showing way for those following. These include Schoenberg, Bartók and Stravinsky who brought about an excess of tension, a masterly use of folkloric elements and a wild rhythmic primitivism never heard before in Western music.

It is said that beauty must not be understood. I believe, however, that sensitivity allows us to appreciate beauty and can be developed if we are able to grasp the origin and meaning of what is being expressed. The subject of 20th century music is a complex and extensive one and it would obviously be too optimistic to discuss it here in detail. However, I hope these words will allow the listener to obtain a clear idea of the context in which the pieces in this recording were written in order to listen and enjoy them as an expression of a soul from an era that expanded into multiple, sometimes radically different, directions.

Homenaje. Tombeau sur la morte de Claude Debussy. (1920)
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

The music of Claude Debussy was for many composers, especially the progressive ones like Manuel de Falla, an example to follow and an appealing aesthetic alternative to the one proposed by the German scene. De Falla was asked to write an article about the French composer for the memorial issue of "Revue Musicale". Although he eventually wrote it, he initially responded to the request with a music piece. This piece was Homenaje which incidentally fulfilled guitarist Miguel Llobet’s request to write for the instrument. De Falla clearly felt strongly about it: he transcribed it for piano and years later he orchestrated it to make it part of a cycle of hommages. Homenaje, a piece that pays tribute to the unbound imagination of Debussy, would come to be considered by historians and critics as a landmark in the history of classical guitar, the first work for the instrument written under 20th century aesthetics.

Quatre Pièces Brèves. (1933)
Frank Martin (1890-1974)

With a prelude, two contrasting arias and a dance movement, Frank Martin created a short but remarkable baroque suite that condensed some of the musical innovations of his time – namely dodecaphony, polytonality and the use of dissonance in a tonal context. Quatre Pièces Brèves, however, it took around three decades for it to be fully appreciated. It was dedicated to Andrés Segovia, who was already at the peak of his career, in the hope that it would be performed widely. The Spanish guitarist, nevertheless, not a big lover of modern music himself, did not think much of it and never played it. It was Julian Bream, the same guitarist to whom Nocturnal is dedicated, who first did justice to it and recorded it in 1966. Just like de Falla did with ‘Homenaje’, Martin also arranged Quatre Pièces Brèves for both the piano and orchestra.

Thème Varié et Finale (1926)
Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948)

It is impossible to write something about the guitar music by Manuel M. Ponce without mentioning Andrés Segovia. Guitarists owe a great deal to the fact that Segovia, in contrast with his feeling for Martin’s work, deeply loved the music Ponce wrote for the guitar. He constantly requested his music and only a few out of the over 30 works for the guitar written by Ponce are not dedicated to Segovia. Thème Varié et Finale was one of the first bigger scale pieces Ponce wrote for this instrument. Although modernistic, he was not an avantgarde composer, and especially when writing for the guitar he stayed within classical and neo-classical borders. His more risky ideas were reserved for chamber music compositions such as a polytonal string quartet which earned him a prize in 1927.

Nocturnal on John Dowland op. 70 (1963)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

It was through his acquaintance with guitarist Julian Bream that Benjamin Britten composed what many consider to be one of the 20th century masterpieces for the guitar, full of metaphor and imagination. In Nocturnal Britten uses the song ‘Come Heavy Sleep’ by renaissance composer John Dowland, a sorrowful plea for sleep to come and wash away pain and distress, to create a musical discourse that progresses from anxiety to peace. Each movement is a variation on Dowland’s song and is purposefully designed to evoke different states of mind, moving from the most agitated towards the more calm ones. The final movement, Passacaglia, dives deeper into the source of suffering and reaches a forceful climax, after which the original song, in a contrasting tonal atmosphere, slowly makes its way. Rest arrives, what was once distorted and painful is now clear and soothing.

Sonata for guitar op. 47 (1976, revised in 1981)
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)

With his Sonata for guitar, written during his last compositional period (of what he would call ‘Neo-expressionism’) Ginastera brought an unparalleled world of sound and expression to the classical guitar scene of that time. He borrowed rhythms and guitar techniques that belonged to the Argentinian folk music, such as the ‘bahuala’, the ‘malambo’, the ‘chacarera’, the ‘chasquido’, and craftily wove them into modernistic compositional languages and techniques. Ginastera recognized that he was happy to have waited so many years to compose for the guitar, even though he had had several requests during his life. Praised by critics after the premiére, he felt that he had been able to fully apply his accumulated skill and personal artistic imprint into this masterpiece.

Notes: Santiago Lascurain.

I would like to heartfully thank my parents Taco and María and my sister Sofía for their unconditional support and love not only during the process of recording this CD but in my life in general. My deepest gratitude goes to my future wife Marite for her loving patience and constant encouragement, without which it all would be many times more challenging and considerably less fun. I dedicate this piece of my work to you all and to all my teachers in my musical career

20th Century Guitar Recital was recorded in August 2013 in Velp, The Netherlands. Santiago Lascurain plays on a 2005 Abel García López guitar and Savarez strings.



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