West Sussex Guitar Club

Charity No. 1124762

Patrons: Gary Ryan & Fabio Zanon

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José Manuel Dapena

Posted by admin on November 22, 2003

The notion of a Spanish guitarist playing an all Spanish programme might lead you to expect some additional insight into the music, some extra historical and cultural perspective denied to other players.

With Jose Manuel Dapena that expectation was fulfilled and not just in terms of the music for, rarely, we were treated to a performance that encompassed both music and poetry, the evocative Platero y Yo of Juan Ramon Jimenez.

The eight short sections - verses perhaps - of the de la Maza were little crafted jewels each of them, beautifully and delicately played with obvious pleasure and a rich, sonorous tone.

The Turina Sonata is an altogether tougher piece being both well known and technically challenging in some sections but it was played with a surety that illustrates mastery of the instrument, the fast runs in the allegro balanced by the test of subtlety that the Andante poses both met with great control and the Allegro Vivo full of life as it's name suggests.

The Turina Danzas in part two paid homage to a people who have been one of the major creators of Spanish music, the gypsies, the gitanos - or gitanas as Turina refers to them with a nod to their dancing skills.

The sequence began with the Arabic influenced Zambra, followed by the Danza de Seduccion, both played muy simpatico, lyrical and entreating, the Danza Ritual breaking the spell briefly, almost jazz like in it's deceptive simplicity, before recreating the Moorish dreaminess with an evocation of the Generalife - the gardens of the Alhambra - and on the opposite side of the gorge of Granada, the legendary Sacramonte home of the Gypsies, a magical and bustling neighbourhood of music and voices, even the rasqueado borrowed from the Gypsy guitarists was included in this stunning performance.

The Elogio, a lesser known work by possibly Spain's most well known composer, is a very taxing piece but was played with a great flourish and proved a fitting end to a near flawless virtuoso performance; but it was not quite the end for an encore brought out one of Spain's most well known pieces and played probably better than I've ever heard it, that cultural insight perfectly balancing dexterity and attack, giving the piece a vigour rarely heard from non Spanish players. Estupendo !

Graham Benge