BROUWER: Six Preludios Epigramaticos
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Leo Brouwer is one of Cuba’s most celebrated 20th Century musicians and his Preludios Epigramaticos is one of his most beloved and also one of the most commonly recorded set of pieces. This digital only set is only 13 minutes in total, so it really is for the musician /guitarist who wants to hear a fine performance of this haunting set.
The greater majority of this music is characterized by its slower tempos and its almost otherworldly harmonies that do immediately sound like Leo Brouwer’s compositional style. Welsh – born Khan has recorded many times before and the first thing that strikes you is how effortless this complex music sounds under his fingers.
The first piece, Moderato has a rocking motion to it, and then what seems like an uncomplicated three note motif, suddenly becomes an extremely fast run before returning to its opening apparently simple melody. This situation occurs, in a varied fashion a few times, until it finally dies away
Tranquillo begins with some harmonics and then from a slow opening again develops a scintillatingly unexpected dive around the fingerboard. The music here is stranger and as a result, darker in its musical writing.
No3 is a Lento, which again has an almost disconnected sound, as if we were listening from afar, and unable to get nearer to it. The music is again complex and unlike anything else you might have heard, unless you know Brouwer’s style.
The fourth piece An Allegretto Moderato, is the fastest so far of the set, and starts with a lively arpeggio styled opening that soon becomes more complicated, and moves restlessly around the fingerboard, but always coming back to the opening motif, before suddenly slowing down and stopping almost in midair
No5 is Pesante and is dark and very unusual with another rocking motif underneath its unusual; world of harmony. Again it is very short, and as soon as it has stated what it wants to say, it just stops, with no excess whatsoever.
The final Poetique closes the set on a mysterious sound world, with sudden fast moments interspersed with slow almost painfully tragic sounds, and finally closes on what seems like a question, not a resolving answer, as you might get from other composers.
Brouwer’s works always make you think. They have a feeling about them that really is like no one else’s music, and Adam Khan has done a grand job of first performing them and then secondly capturing that very individual world of Brouwer’s. Beautifully recorded, and of course effortlessly played.