Sunday, June 25, 2006

Spanish Guitar

The other night we journeyed to Socorro, the Athens of the Southwest, for a concert by the Chilean guitarist Carlos Perez. He was in town to teach master classes at the summer guitar workshop held every year by New Mexico Tech. Kathy always does their publicity, and this year she wangled free tickets.

I’ve always found that certain guitar styles are so much more interesting when you get to watch the playing. Classical guitar is one of these: I never play solo guitar music around the house, but I always enjoy it played live. (I find this holds true for more popular guitar styles as well, as for example Ry Cooder, whose concerts always seem to be so much more exciting than his albums.)

Perez has won numerous competitions, though he still seems fresh-faced and young. He began as a self-taught guitarist, though he afterwards entered various academies and did spectacularly well.

As a performer Perez was entirely watchable. He got very intimate with his guitar, peering at close range at whatever his left hand was doing, at times so close he was crosseyed. He shifted the padded guitar rest from his left thigh to his right thigh when playing waltzes, but never at any other time. He never made those annoying shrieking sounds when changing his fingering, and he made interesting orgasm faces during parts of the music.

(I fear my critical vocabulary for the classical guitar is sadly lacking.)

Perez opened with pieces by Luis Milan, Ferdinando Carulli, and Joaquin Rodrigo. He played expertly, but there were what seemed to be occasional slips. Maybe he was a little under-rehearsed on those pieces. The second half of the concert was devoted entirely to the 20th Century Venezuelan composer Antonio Lauro, and it was with these pieces that Perez really shone. The playing was expert, passionate, and deeply felt— everything you want Latin guitar to be.

Perez’s next CD will be entirely devoted to the music of Lauro. Maybe I’ll ignore my usual rule about recordings of solo guitar and actually acquire a copy.

1 Comments:

Blogger Foxessa said...

My favorite classical guitarists as a group are Brasilaros.

Except, of course, for the one here at home.

Who is running through the repetoire even as I type for the show Wednesday night ....

Love, C.

3:13 PM  

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