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Olivier Pelmoine : Echo: CD

PIAZZOLLA: 5 Pieces: JACQMIN: 5 Parentheses; VILLA – LOBOS; 5 Preludes; JAKUBOWSKI: XBB

Olivier Pelmoine

Skarbo: DSK 1178

Guitarist and Theorbist Olivier Pelmoine begins with the only set of pieces written by Astor Piazzolla for guitar solo, even though many of his works have been subsequently arranged for guitar by numerous people. They were written in the late 70s / early 80s and have since been very popular, as the pieces are very idiomatic, utterly atmospheric, and quite different from each other, and from other composers’ works. Pelmoine makes a fine job of bringing out the character of each of them too, with a lovely clear recording and a flawless performance.

Frederic Jacqmin’s Five Parentheses are new to me as is, in fact the composer. These are modern in every sense of the word. They do have many moments when tambora, percussive sections and other dramatic sounds intervene, and the works are always tinged with modern harmonies, and seem very difficult to master, not that this is a problem for our guitarist and he makes short work of them. They are very moody, sometimes violent too, and would not be everybody’s favoured listening, but if they sound like your cup of tea, they’re perfectly rendered here.

After this comes perhaps a set of one of the most well- known, and often played group of pieces, the Five Preludes of Heitor Villa – lobos, works that just about every guitarist in the universe will either possess the music for, or will have tried them at some time or other. Moreover many hundreds of recordings of these pieces exist, so a new recording has surely to be saying something that others haven’t or in a way that others haven’t considered. Whereas these are fine performances they don’t stand out from any other really fine versions that you will probably already have, and when they are eighteen and a half minutes out of the total 69 on the CD, this might be a little off – putting.

The final trio of pieces is by Pascale Jakubowski, a contemporary writer, and one whose name and music is also a new one to me. This is a very strange and almost spooky trio of pieces, involving a bottle – neck at one point, and resulting in a very weird sound that could be the music to a strange science –fiction film, or one of those films involving a dark large house where they never put the lights on, and awful things happen in them to whoever strays into the place. I am not sure that this is at all listening material for someone, although I could be wrong, and this could be just what you like to play on your CD player.

So there you have it, Two suites of wonderful works , one rather too much played, and two suites of modern works, one very palatable , and one definitely not many people’s style. So I leave it up to you, the listeners, and readers of my site, whether this CD has intrigued you enough to look for it!

Chris Dumigan

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