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  • chrisdumigan

Isana Akita : Aquarelle : CD

R.SAINZ DE LA MAZA: Rondena : ASSAD: Aquarelle: ARCAS: Fantasy on Themes from La Traviata: J.S. BACH: Jesus Bleibet meine Freude BWV 147; KATO: A Scottish Sunset Letter from Cinq Lettres Perdue: ASSELBORN: El Gato Ciego from Suite de mi Jardin.

Isana Akita

Opus One : ‎ COCQ-85451

Japanese Akita has here produced a short (37 minutes) but interesting set of very varied pieces. He begins with Regino Sainz de la Maza one of two brothers who were devoted to the guitar and who each in his own way made their mark on the history of the classical guitar in the 20th Century. His brother Eduardo was the first performer of the famous Concerto de Aranjuez of Rodrigo. He did write a number of works, but Regino was more into the writing of pieces, and is responsible from some very impressionistic pieces that have their own sound entirely, and this Rondena is a perfect example, and a good opener to the CD. He takes it at a fast pace, but it all sounds really musical and effortless which it most certainly isn’t.

Sergio Assad, whose three- movement Aquarelle is the title piece of this CD, is a very famous and highly praised writer and performer. The three movements here are firstly Divertimento, with its diverse mixture of Latin rhythms, and momentary almost atonal clashes, followed by Valseana, which is sad and reflective and finally Preludio e Toccatina which begins hesitantly, and full of emotion before extremely fast and furious and providing a wonderful close to the piece. Nothing here is easy, but everything fits under Akita’s fingers without a problem.

Spanish – born Julian Arcas was one of the most renowned 19th Century guitarists, who, like many guitarists of the time would translate Opera melodies onto the guitar, often as a lengthy Fantasy or something akin to that. In the end he wrote more than 50 original works for the guitar, and here is his Fantasy on Themes from La Traviata (the opera of Giuseppe Verdi), more than eight minutes in length, and a great deal of fun it is. It is romantic, and fits exceedingly well onto the guitar, full of the tunes that many of you know, and very much of its time. However it is a very satisfying piece that is quite a contrast to what has gone before.

Next comes one of J.S> Bach’s most famous pieces Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude with its hymn melody in long notes, on top of the constantly moving accompaniment tune that in my opinion has always been a wonderful tune that just shows how amazingly clever Bach was at combining two tuners such as this. However to play it on one guitar is quite a feat, and yet there is absolutely no point in the piece where you think it isn’t going to work. Wonderful. The last two works are by composers unknown to me. Firstly there is a piece by Japanese Masanori Kato, who has written many works for lots of different combinations, and this Scottish Sunset Letter from Cinques Lettres Perdues is very lyrical, full of sadness and with just an occasional touch of the modern but not too much. This is a beautiful piece indeed. The final work is by Argentian Ariel Asselborn and is from his Suite de mi Jardin, El Gato Ciego, which apparently means the Blind Cat which goes to explain why some of the music is humorous, with plenty of action intermingled with several pairs of minor seconds in a string that no doubt are there to help you picture the cat trying to go on his way without any problems. This has a very Latin rhythmed basis and is again a lovely little work that finished this very varied CD off perfectly.

I found the playing effortless, and the recording very clear and listenable, and so this CD , albeit a little short, was great fun, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes this repertoire.

Chris Dumigan

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