Classical Music

Sharon Isbin & Pacifica Quartet, Souvenirs of Spain and Italy, Guitar and String Quartet Music by Castelnuevo-Tedesco, Vivaldi, Turina, Boccherini


What makes the music of Spain and Italy so lively and expressive? One answer is that both countries had a period of enculturation with originally nonlocal peoples, the Moors and Arabs, and at least in Spain a pronounced Judaic influence as well. Today’s post certainly bears out tha liveliness of the music on a very compelling album of music for classical guitar and string quartet, namely the Pacifica Quartet and guitarist Sharon Isbin play Souvenirs of Spain and Italy  (Cedille CDR 90000 190).

One key thing that makes this a winner right off the bat is the quality of the performances, with Sharon Isbin;a guitar and the quartet; string presence as lively and as authentically dedicated as you night want to hear.

And another key is the beauty and intelligent choice of the repertoire featured in the program. So we have Mario  Castelnuevo-Tedesco in a pleasant surprise with his less well-known “Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet,” Isbin and Emilio Pujol’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D Major,” Turina’s “La Oracion del Torero for String Quartet,” and finally Boccherini’s “Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet.”

The music has such a detailed and vibrant feeling and demeanor and serves fully to flesh out the abundant talents of the artists on display here. There way be one or two works you have not heard much if at all, and then in the end it is all the more educational and rewarding to mix familiar and not-so-familiar works in these wonderful performances.

Ms. Isbin is a hearteningly lyrical presence on these erfoamcnes, matching the expressive brio of the strings and putting forward a joyful noise without fail. The simpatico stylistic fluency of the five artists brings the Spanish-Italian qualities to the forefront just as one might hope.

Recommended heartily for novice and seasoned listeners alike.You likely will find many hours of pleasure here as I am doing.

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