sabato 1 settembre 2012

Review of Hans Werner Henze – Works for 2 guitars by Elena Càsoli and Jurgen Ruck, DG 1999


Elena Càsoli Jurgen Ruck Henze

Italian Translation

First confession: I bought this cd by impulse, during a night raid on the web. I have to say that this was the first time I heard the beautiful music of Hans Werner Henze, I didn’t know his music before and I knew Jurgen Ruck indirectly because I knew he’s the guitar player of the Modern Ensemble and I have their records with Zappa’s music. Second confession: listening to this cd proved to be simply a pleasant surprise, it's nothing but excellent with a wonderful dynamic and the performers are simply brilliant, two guitars that fit perfectly with each other showing a variety of colors and cromatisms.
The listening shall be a little hard, it’s like a meditation, you have to sip it, to savor carefully listening to it again and again, allowing the music to absorb yourself, a music that never disappoints, never. The CD is divided into three parts. The first one is devoted to trascription for two guitars of The English Cat, now renamed with the name of the protagonist “Minette:Canti e rimpianti amorosi”. The story is about Minette, a young kitten in the countryside, going to town, to London to marry Lord Puff, the President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Mice,and falling in love with Tom, until the sad epilogue when she dies, submerged in the Thames. This music is made with seven movements, almost with a folk feeling, where folk means naturalness, spontaneity, authenticity and deep expressivity. The beginning is sunny, almost bucolic becoming gradually more melancholic, gloomy, as illusions vanish and the hardness and cynicism of the world take over. The guitars vibrate, dance with elegance, are almost feline in their expressions, calling the movement and the games of cats. "Memorias de El Cimarron for two guitars" reflects the figure of Henze as "homo politicus". Composed in 1995 through collaboration with Elena Càsoli and Jurgen Ruck, has his reference in El Cimarron - Recital for Four Musicians, a composition written in Cuba in 1969/70, based on the history of slave Esteban Montejo told by Cuban writer Miguel Barnet . Influenced by the ideals of the Cuban revolution, this work gives freedom to his player, giving the feeling that even in the Memorias where music, freed from the singing parts and rearranged for two guitars, shines for the continual exchanges between the guitars, the continuous changes of rhythm, the short improvisations and the percussive use of the instruments by the two interpreters. The work "Pollicino" was written between 1979 and 1980 for the children of the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany. This tale has been transformed into three movements for guitars that tell, simply and calmly, that dear old fairy tale. As i wrote before, this is an excellent cd, an impeccable recording, published as cd gold and accompanied by a beautiful 32-page booklet written in three languages: English, French and German. Get it. You will not regret it.
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