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Michal Hromek  : Folk Baroque and Other Rags for Guitar(s) : CD



 TRAD: First Two Carols (Medley: Syn Boží Se Nám Narodil / Byla Cesta Ušlapaná); Second Two Carols (Kristus Pan Se Narodil /Den Přeslavný ); The Falcon: O’CAROLAN: Concertino after O’Carolan; O’Carolan’s Farewell to Music VIVALDI : Concerto;: HROMEK:Three Rags : Two Pieces for Two Guitars (Midnight / Pilgrim):

Michal Hromek: with Jaroslav Sindler , Jiri Ton, Martin Myslivecek (additional guitars)

Bonton : 710166-2 911

 

Here is an album by Czech player Michal Hromek with a very interesting and varied list of pieces. The other three guitars are in evidence for the majority of the album, and certainly add a great deal of colour to the music. The Two sets of carols are of course Czech so you are unlikely to know them but they are beautifully done, and the folk element of these pieces is strongly noticeable. The Concertino after O’Carolan is in three movements each one an arranged version of one of his pieces, firstly The Grassy Turf – Planxty, followed by Blind Mary and Morgan Magan, all attractively played and sounding wonderful, as to be honest nearly all of Turlough O’Carolan does! The Vivaldi Concerto is again in three movements and is a very effective arrangement for the guitars. There is an Allegro Non Molto, a Larghetto, and a final Allegro. Michal Hromek’s own pieces begin with the Three Rags, the first of which begins very un-rag-like before eventually develop into the rag rhythms we all know. The second rag has many instances of note bends and some fine passagework between the players, with the final third Rag bringing the tempo up considerably and making a fitting conclusion to what is basically a fun set of pieces. The other two pieces of Hromek’s are firstly Midnight which begins slow and emotional with a low melody underneath an arpeggiated accompaniment, before the tempo picks up and the music develops a jazz feel , together with what one would think was an improvised solo at one point, although I imagine it’s written to sound like that! The second piece The Pilgrim is full of multiple arpeggios on both guitars and then becomes an almost folk / rock tinge with again what sounds like some improvisation taking place. The Traditional melody The Falcon has a sad feel, and some emotional passage work underneath the haunting tune.The album closes with O’Carolan’s Farewell to Music which is very simple and sounds great on a very evocative guitar that really does help to make the piece sound perfect

So all in all, I found this album a great addition to anyone’s collection. The other players, who help Hromek, add some great parts to the pieces and the entire album is definitely one to try and get for yourself!

 

Chris Dumigan

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