Ondulation - González
Eudora Records EUD-SACD-2202
Classical - Instrumental
Works by Bach & Kurtag
Pedro Mateo González (guitar)
A fascinating album featuring spellbinding recordings of Bach’s Suites and Partitas on the guitar, interspersed by first recordings of György Kurtág’s four short pieces extracted from “Darabok a Gitáriskolának”. Performed with finesse and utmost sensitivity, Pedro Mateo González guides us in a voyage through Bach and Kurtág’s music, recorded in the sumptuous acoustics of the 13th Century Convent of San Francisco, in Ávila, Spain.
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Review by Adrian Quanjer - May 9, 2022
“A plucked string instrument that was first called a guitar appeared in Spain around the turn of the fifteenth century” (from: ‘The Origins of the Classical Guitar’). Sounds credible, though there are other opinions as well. Some trace it even back to Egypt. Whatever the case and whoever is right, for many Spain equals Guitar. No wonder some of the best acoustic guitar players come from Iberia and Pedro Mateo González is no exception.
However, talking about Spanish guitar, some think no further than ‘Flamingo’. How wrong they are. The proof is here. Pedro Mateo González treats us on a recital of thoroughly non-Spanish arrangements and adaptations of J.S. Bach: Suite BWV 779 for Lute, the First Cello Suite BWV 1007, and the Second Partita for Solo Violin BWV 1004, interspersed by a selection of Georgy Kurtág’s ‘Darabok a Gitariskolának’, one of which, ‘Hullámzás, providing the title for this recording. I was pleased to note that for this Spanish release its French translation ‘Ondulation’ has been chosen.
Used in the plural, Sebastián Wise’s liner notes ‘Ondulations’ somehow draw the reader into Bach’s mindset. My phantasy fell short of grasping the deeper meaning, but I think Wise is entitled to give us an ‘artist impression’ of Bach’s thinking of “weaving, spinning and spinning voices”, leaving it to others to read through the ripples and the waves of the Master’s thinking.
What I missed though, is the usual background information on the works played. For instance, the fact that there are two versions of the Suite in C minor: BWV 997.1, composed in 1738–1741, for Lautenwerk, and BWV 997.2 arranged for Lute (and possibly not by Bach!). And also: Who did the guitar transcriptions for this release. I’m nonetheless sure that educated and interested Bach lovers will either know or have no difficulty in finding relevant information on the internet.
The juxtaposition of Bach and Kurtág is an interesting one. The difference couldn’t be bigger. The mature Bach compositions coupled with Pieces for the Guitar Tutor (Darabok a Gitariskolának), which Gurtág wrote for his son to learn the guitar. Audacious? Well, I particularly liked it. For me, it worked like a ‘Trou Normand’, a sorbet for cleansing the palate between the various dishes of a copious and delicious diner in my corner of the world.
What about the artist? What about Pedro Mateo González? I kept the best part till the end. He is an eminent guitarist. I’ve heard less gifted guitar players struggling with Bach transcriptions, like stuttering through the score. Very tiresome for the listener. The only good thing about it is that one realizes that it isn’t at all that easy-peasy as some may believe when listening to a truly competent player, like González, playing the same. But that is just the technical part of it. González has more to offer. He adds subtle articulation and moderate dynamics to the undulating textures of Bach’s creative “weaving, spinning and spinning voices”, captivating the attention of an audience with his gentle and elegant style.
Why not put your faith in the artist impressions, served by Pedro Mateo González in the rich acoustics of the 13th Century Convent of San Francisco, in Ávila, Spain, in the best possible (two microphones) Eudora engineering?
Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.
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