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BBC Music Magazine review

Steph Power reviews 'Guitar Concertos' in the October issue of BBC Music Magazine:

"Guitarist Jakob Bangsø has become known for his keen interest in contemporary music and collaboration with composers from his native Denmark and beyond. This colourful album presents the somewhat mixed results of two such projects in world premiere recordings alongside the eclectic 1993 Corigliano concerto that inspired them.

The composers here span three generations and two continents, and are diverse yet complementary in style. John Corigliano (b1938) wrote Troubadours for Sharon Isbin, overcoming initial misgivings about composing for the guitar to produce an engagingly quirky, three-part concerto based on a troubadour melody. Bangsø tackles his blend of nostalgic reverie and jauntily surreal, quasi-medieval episodes with just the right kind of understated verve. It’s the clear highlight of an album which benefits throughout from able partners in the Talinn Chamber Orchestra under conductor Kaisa Roose.

Eschewing Corigliano’s theatricality (including a modern-day off-stage ‘shawm band’), Constantine Caravassilis (b1979) and Wayne Siegel (b1953) pick up on his theme of memory. In Saudade (2018), the Greek-Canadian Caravassilis revisits two songs from his childhood with yearning as the title might suggest. Cast in four over-long movements, it’s effectively a series of impressions embracing sadness and conviviality within which the guitarist sits as chief rememberer.

Siegel is a Danish-American composer whose Chaconne (2016) takes as its starting point Corigliano’s use of the form as a device for varied repetition of remembered material. The result yields shifting textures that are reminiscent of high-minimalist era Nyman and Glass."

-Steph Power


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