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Pablo Menendez : Esencia : CD

Pablo Menendez

RODRIGO : Sonata Giocosa ; Junto Al Generalife: MOZART : (Transcriptions by Pablo Menendez ) Seis Arias de ‘La Flauta Magia’ : E.PUJOL: Tres Piezas Espanolas: SOR: Fantaisie Elegaique Op59.

QTV Classics : QTV – 018

The title of the CD Esencia (Essence) refers to Pablo Menendez’s work ethic, through his passion of the guitar and music. He begins with the famous Sonata Giocosa of Joaquin Rodrigo and its three – movement structure of fast – slow – fast is a typical format of the Sonata. That’s where the similarity ends however, as Rodrigo’s humorous harmonic style sounds like nobody else, string as he does with one of his archetypical opening chords with a deliberate wrong note attached. This of course is what makes his music so unique, and so hard to bring off because in the wrong hands the dissonant wrong note chords can just sound unconvincing, and at times that the player has actually played a wrong note by accident. It takes a good player to make them sound correct. Menendez has no problem here, as he attacks those places in just the right way. The opening movement therefore bounds around sounding far easier than it really is to actually play (I have had the score for decades and still can’t make a decent job of it!) The slow movement is a complete contrast and lads to the uproarious finale which is full of the rasgueados, wrong noted portions, and very fast exciting runs that make up one of his finales, and Menendez makes it all work beautifully. The less familiar Junto al Generalife’s introduction is rich and emotional and in direct contrast to the sonata, before the main theme and its dance rhythms intervene with its tremolo moments and it’s very Spanish harmonic style and is another beautiful rendition.

The following Mozart set that Menendez has arranged himself is based on Sor’s Op19 (his own version of these pieces) and a study of Mozart’s original manuscript, to create a very effective and yet faithful version of these six pieces. His tone is suitably beautiful and warm in the correct places and these six pieces are short but very satisfying.

The Tres Piezas Espanolas of Emilio Pujol are still not as well-known as they should be, with the opening Tonadilla and its captivating themes, the rhythmic Tango , which is such a fun piece to get your hands around , and the very quirky final Guajira which closes off the trio very nicely. Menendez has the correct armoury to make this beautiful trio of pieces work very well indeed.

The 56 minute CD closes with the famous Fantaisie Elegiaque of Fernando Sor , and at 17 plus minutes , the longest piece on the recording by far. The tragic essence of the piece dedicated to Sor’s student Charlotte de Beslay has a very long introduction that is utterly mournful, before leading eventually to a funeral march full of little comments above the score such as the final ‘Charlotte Adieu’ that really bring home the nature of the reason for Sor’s composition. Menendez truthfully captures the essential tragedy of this extensive work and so comes to a very natural and tragic close, ending a very fine CD of some lovely music played superbly well. If the repertoire appeals to you, then you not be disappointed by this fine player’s performances or the recording which is very clear and inviting throughout.

Chris Dumigan

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