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  • chrisdumigan

Elena Ortega : Rumores del Mediterraneo : CD

ALBENIZ: Capricho Catalan; Cadiz: MALATS: Serenata Espanola: GARCIA ABRIL: Evocaciones II- La Guitarra Hace LLorar a Los Suenos; IV – Hoy Es Siempre Todavia: ASENCIO: Suite Valenciana : RODRIGO : En Los Trigales: ERENA : Luz del Alba: TURINA: Sonata Op.61

Elena Ortega

Cezanne Productions: CZ097

This is Spanish guitarist Elena Ortega’s first CD and she has chosen to play music from her homeland and it is a mixture of some well – known and some not so well – known pieces. She begins with Albeniz and two of his famous piano pieces that sound so correct on the guitar, it is often hard for listeners who haven’t heard the piano originals to realize they weren’t guitar pieces in the first place. They are both very well played and clearly recorded and have plenty of life and emotion and are a good start to this recording.

The Malats is one of the few pieces to make its way onto our guitar, and there were one or two places that I hadn’t heard the melody placed like that, in spite of the notes mentioning that it was Tarrega who arranged it, and whose version I have seen many times before. Maybe our guitarist adapted one or two little portions herself? Either way it was a lovely performance with lots of energy.

The composer Anton Garcia Abril is less well – known. He wrote a number of works for the guitar. Here Elena Ortega plays two of the five moments from his Evocaciones. The music is warm and friendly and deserves to be heard more often in my opinion. It was written in 1985 as a homage to Segovia, and the style is always beautiful and harmonic and fits in really well with the repertoire on this CD.

The complete guitar works by Asencio, suites of highly characteristic and atmospheric pieces, evoking the sounds of his native country are beautiful works, and quite challenging to play, although this is not a problem for our guitarist! The Suite Valenciana, in three movements Preludi, Canconeta, and Dansa, is one of six solo works that he wrote, and if you have not come across them then this CD is a good starting point, as they are engaging but at times somewhat enigmatic in parts of their harmonics that really involvers the listener (And the player- if anyone searches out the sheet music for these fabulous pieces!)

Rodrigo’s En Los Trigales follows, .Of course it has often been recorded and the trick with Rodrigo is often how to make some of the (often) un-guitaristic portions sound perfectly natural, something that others can fail to do. Here Elena does a fine job of the piece.

Juan Erena might be a new name to you, but I was lucky enough to get sent a CD of entirely his music played by other players, not so long ago, and wonderful it all was. The subject matter of Luz del Alba (Dawn Light) is apparently the last light of dawn seen by prisoners on the day of their execution. It is haunting and sadly emotive, but with the odd unusual progression or note sequence that makes his style quite original and yet great to hear. I would love to see some of this composer’s scores!

The final work is well – known and is Turina’s Three – movement Sonata Op61 written of course for Segovia and like other pieces by him is full of drama, and the very Spanish sound we might expect. Of course Elena Ortega is perfect in her performance of it, and like the rest of this CD I can honestly report that nothing was at all suspect- everything was beautifully played, wonderfully recorded, close but not too close so that string squeaks are not there all the time!

So, all in all this is a CD that I will return to many times, and if this is only her first CD, roll on number two!

Chris Dumigan

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