- Cuatro estaci?nes porte?as (The Four Seasons), tango cycle
Many young European guitarists are jockeying for the position of inheritor to the greats of the instrument in the late 20th century, but this debut release from the 22-year-old Spanish-French guitarist Thibaut Garcia serves notice of strong competition indeed. The program of mostly Spanish favorites has a few novelties: the fabulous arrangement for solo guitar of Astor Piazzolla's "Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas" (Buenos Aires Four Seasons) by Brazilian guitarist Sergio Assad; the short piece by Antonio Jiménez Manjón; and the guitar-and-cello version of Falla's "Siete canciones populares españolas." But the real attraction is the incredible fluidity of Garcia's playing. The Piazzolla pieces are, in his hands, the most rhythmic of the bunch. Sample the "Invocación y danza" of Joaquín Rodrigo for an idea of both Garcia's smoothness and suavity and the perfect fit it makes with Erato's engineering work, accomplished at the Maladrerie Saint-Lazare in Beauvais. A maladrerie is a leper hospital, and this one is well known as a concert venue with sound that somehow manages to be both intimate and profound. For guitar music, the results here would be difficult to improve upon, with total clarity in Garcia's difficult runs and not a bit of extraneous noise. This is a remarkable meeting of performer and venue, and the whole thing is a rare pleasure that will lead listeners to rediscover some familiar favorites.