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Juan Erena : El Eterno Viaje : CD : The music of Juan Erena played by numerous players

1) El Eterno Viaje ( played by Radu Valcu); 2) Find You Again (Played by An Tran) ; 3) La Ventana sin Jardin (played by Eduardo Inestal) 4) Los Atardeceres (played by Lautaro Perez Batalla) 5) Soul of Fire a) Astral b) Yearnings of Merida c) Way Home d) FIreland (Played by Robbin Blanco 6) El Diario de Dori (Played by Rebeca Oliviera) 7) Luz del Alba ( Played by Shani Inbar) 8) Dos Piezas Nocturnas a) Amistad b) Lullaby (played by Jose Luis Morillas) 9) Cuatro Piezas Oniricas a) Preludio Del Mar b) Laura’s Dream c) Ausencias d) Metafora (Played by Sergio Calero)

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Juan Erena’s music crosses many musical borders. It is immediately very melodic in a slightly mysterious way, and has moments when jazz – like elements enter, only to flit away, along with certain reminders of popular ballads, but remaining utterly classical in concept and fitting beautifully on the guitar but with no hint of having used any patterns or groups of notes that you have come across multiple times before, like can often happen with so many guitar pieces. These are completely fresh, beautifully original and yet completely friendly, harmonically speaking. He has a fresh sound like no one else you have heard.

This latest CD concept is an intriguing one, an entire CD of 68 + minutes length, but played entirely by other players, not him! Well it’s a tribute to him that so many wonderful players all agree to actually take part in it, and it must have taken some considerable organizing.

It is hard, and almost unfair to pick out any tracks as being favourites because there isn’t a second rate piece amongst them (and I would love to see some of these scores too!) but Find You Again is a wonderful, sad, haunting piece of considerable length played beautifully by An Tran, and recorded in Chicago. Los Atardeceres (The Sunsets) is full of gentle, almost improvisatory music that definitely has the Erena sound, whilst reminding you of nothing else you have come across before, and is a wonderful performance by Lautaro Perez Batalla from Buenos Aires. The four movement suite Soul of Fire has some wonderful moments including two hair – raisingly difficult movement s Way Home and Fireland that sound very tricky to negotiate not that Canadian Robbin Blanco has any difficulties, because he makes a great job of them! The longest track on the album, at nearly 8 minutes is a very heartfelt work called El Diario de Dori, in a stunning performance by Rebeca Oliviera, and definitely one of the standout pieces, and yet again sounds like no music you have played on the guitar before.

But really, every track is quite beautiful, all superbly played, and all very nicely recorded, and although there are some very fast pieces, the overall feeling is one of haunting music, very emotionally felt, and lovely from start to finish. This is definitely a recording to go for!

Chris Dumigan

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