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Ernesto Bitetti : Gaspar Sanz : Integral "Instrucción De Música Sobre La Guitarra Española" CD

Gaspar Sanz: Complete 3 books, 48 tracks in total

Hispavox : CMS 5 66023 2 (2 x CDs)

Ernesto Bitetti’s recording of the complete three books of Gaspar Sanz’s Instruccion de Musica Sobre La Guitarra Espanola is of course a great way to get the complete edition all in one place on 2 CDs. Of course Bitetti uses a modern sized Classical, as you would expect, but Sanz wrote for the 5 course Baroque guitar , which was smaller than today’s instrument and had a variety of tunings, all of which lacked a true bass. Sanz’s work was published firstly in two volumes in 1674 with a third added in 1697. In addition to instruction in music theory and guitar technique, it contains a considerable number of pieces written in tablature. Some were used for teaching purposes; some were settings of popular and courtly dances whilst others were character pieces. It is on themes taken from this source that Rodrigo based his Fantasia para un Gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra.

Bitetti’s musicality of course is without question, even though it does sound as though he does add some basses wherever he feels they are necessary, but then again that is always the problem putting an instrument’s music onto a modern classical as there really aren’t any true basses in Sanz’s original scores.

As for the contents of the two CDs themselves, you must remember that nearly every track is extremely short. Pieces over 2 minutes in length are quite rare on this CD so they really don’t outstay their welcome! The pieces are of course very pleasant and some of them will be known to the more occasional listener, for example the Canarios, which was made popular by John Williams, to name just one, and Bitetti’s playing throughout is very musical , absolutely with the correct feel to these works throughout the entire recital.

So if a trip into the Renaissance and the music of Gaspar Sanz is tempting you, then you can of course look out for a recording on period instruments, or if you are not particularly bothered about that detail, then Bitetti’s performances are effortless sounding, nicely recorded, and lovely to listen to.

Chris Dumigan

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