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  • chrisdumigan

Shin – Ichi Fukuda : Plays 19th Century Guitar : CD

COSTE: Reverie Op53 No1 (Andante Sostenuto) : Andante Extrait de la Fantasie Symphonique Op38 – 14;Caprice sur L’Air Espagnol ‘La Cachucha ; Op13: SOR: Estudio in A Major Op6 No12; Estudio in C Major Op29 No17; Exercice in Bm Op35 No22; Lecon in E Major Op312 No23; Variations on a Theme of Mozart Op9; Valse in E Major Op32 No2: AGUADO: Rondo Brilliant Op2 No2 Andante – Rondo ( Allegro Moderato) : MERTZ: Fantasie Hongoise Op65 No1; Abendlied from Bardenklange Op13.

Shin –Ichi Fukuda

Denon ; COCO 73323

Japanese –born Shin- Ichi Fukuda, has 60 albums to his name including many from contemporary Japanese composers including Takemitsu, and many others lesser known, to the majority of western players, but here he takes the 19th century route with pieces by four of the greatest, Coste, Sor, Mertz and Aguado.

Napoleon Coste wrote many wonderful works that displayed virtuosity in his writing at times whilst also keeping the emotional content of the music always there in the foreground, thus making his music quite different from many of his contemporaries. The Reverie, the first of his Six Pieces Originales a truly wonderful set of imaginative pieces with a very late opus number that show how far away from some of his fellow guitar composers he actually was. Set in E Major, the Andante Sostenuto speed marking is full of demi – semi quaver passages and need a fine player to do them full justice. Our guitarist here does a great job of bringing out the work’s musicality as well as being utterly able to cope with the fireworks when needed. The Andante - extrait de la Fantaisie Symphonique de l’ Auteur is also better known as the fourteenth of his 25 Etudes de Genre, another ground – breaking set all of which are wonderful technical work – outs whilst also containing some of the most difficult pieces to bring off successfully, such is their technical requirement. The final Coste work is the Caprice, a Vivace that truly dives around the guitar in a most spectacular way , especially as Fukuda takes the composer at his word and really makes it a true Vivace, and so the quaver triplets are quite something to hear, as is the final Piu Mosso section at the coda.

The Fernando Sor pieces are all very well- known but also replete with a great style that he managed to find , whilst others of his contemporaries just wrote , in my humble opinion , very flashy pieces with not much musical element in them. Sor however managed to make his pieces meaningful and not just empty – headed fireworks. The Etudes, and the other works here are effortless for Fukuda and he finds the musicality in them without any trouble. The extremely well – known Mozart Variations get a fine performance as does all his Sor works here. The music of Johann Kaspar Mertz, unlike that of most of his contemporaries, followed the pianistic models of Liszt, Chopin Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann rather than the classical models of Mozart and Haydn that Sor and Aguado did. Again his guitar works are many and very varied and here Fukuda has decided to play the Fantaisie Hongroise the first of theTrois Morceaux Op65, and Abendlied one of his very large set of pieces that fall under the title of Bardenklange, which are probably Mertz’s most well – known and most important contribution to the guitar repertoire, being a series of modest character pieces very much in the manner of Schumann and number 30 in total, published in 15 separate books. The technical requirement for the Fantaisie Hongroise is considerably greater than the excerpt from Bardenklange, but that aside, Fukuda makes the pieces very musical and natural on his guitar.

Therefore, in consideration of the entire CD, the guitarist picks a nice mixture of the well – known and the less well – known and shows that he can not only play everything the manuscripts require without any noticeable difficulty (and many of them are extremely difficult!) but he brings the musical character out in all of them, and as such I can recommend this as a super CD for anyone interested in this repertoire.

Chris Dumigan

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