Complete catalogue

C 9630 GASPAR SANZ: COURT MUSIC AND STRUMMING DANCES [9,99 Euros]

 

Between 1674-1675, the Spanish composer (born in Calanda, near Saragossa) Gaspar Sanz printed a pioneering collection of pieces for the Spanish guitar. It was remarkable in many ways. First, Sanz engraved all the music plates himself, something probably necessary because there was virtually no music printing in Spain at this time, and local printers would not have possessed either the music font or the skill to use it. Besides, Gaspar Sanz provides a sheer quantity of information and instruction. He not only included his entire musical output in three books printed in two years, but he also produced the most complete and useful guitar treatise of his time. This collection contains a variety of musical genres. Some of them were entirely original compositions without any connection to pre-existing material, but also present in his books are variations of his own of well-known melodies and harmonic patterns (variations were an important feature of Spanish instrumental music) and, finally, basic harmonisations provided to dances that seem to have their roots in popular music. All this material was intended for the 5-course guitar of the time, which was played using two main performing techniques: that of rasgueado (strumming) and punteado (plucked strings), which Sanz takes to a most refined and complex level. Sanz’s music is colourful, vivid, arresting, harmonically bold, and extremely difficult to play, demanding from performers a solid fingering technique and a deep knowledge of Spanish main rhythms, very different from other European ones, some of them recalling echoes of flamenco music, like the splendid opening Xacaras.

 

Xavier Díaz-Latorre, one of the main regular members of Jordi Savall’s groups like Hesperion XXI and Capella Reial de Catalunya, is today considered among the very best early-plucked instruments soloists. His precise and clean technique gives new light to these wonderful pieces, while his unique strumming technique adds a colourful, authentic atmosphere to the rasgueado passages of the popular tunes. He uses a completely gut-strung, five-course baroque guitar, which in his magic hands produces a type of sound which will enamour not only guitar fans, but also all music lovers in general. Full gut strings, whatever strange it may seem, are still too rare in the early music world when it comes to plucked instruments, because many performers tend to use a mix, nylon-gut type of string that is easier to play and to keep in tune. An instrument fully strung on gut provides a softer, more flexible and relaxed, richer sound that allows for a more authentic punteado technique, favours real baroque ornamentation and, above all, gives a totally different colour to the music. Díaz-Latorre is the undisputed master of gut-strung early-plucked instruments, and he creates moments of ravishing magic in this disc. Another well-known early music specialist, percussion player Pedro Estevan (widely acclaimed as the best in his genre) forms, together with Díaz-Latorre, the ensemble Laberintos Ingeniosos. Estevan’s contribution with different percussion instruments gives even more vigour and rhythmic direction to the performance of some of the jubilant and infectious tunes of popular music, helps to retain many of the catchy melodies of some of the dances and adds majesty and nobility to unforgettable tunes like those of the Passeos, or the Marionas that close the CD. All in all, a most entertaining recording that restores Sanz’s performing instructions to their original sounding world. One of those CD that one will want to play over and over again!

Artist

  • Laberintos Ingeniosos (Xavier Díaz-Latorre, five course guitar strung on pure gut & Pedro Estevan, percussion)

Credits information

Duration total 65:11

Booklet with an article by José Carlos Cabello in Spanish, English and French

Recorded at Varese, Italy, November 2003

Engineering Luca Martegani

Producer Massimiliano Toni

Digital edition Luca Martegani & Massimiliano Toni

Mastering Franck Jaffrès & Alban Moraud

Executive producers Xavier Díaz-Latorre & José Carlos Cabello

Cover A photograph of the artists, by Toni Rebollo, April 2013

 


My recommendation is, then, to lose onself in Gaspar Sanz’s music in the hands of who is, today, his best performer, Xavier Díaz-Latorre. Indispensable. 10/10

“MUSICA PERFECTA” MAGAZINE (Spain, July-December 2013)

    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇓ before playing ▶

    Xácaras
    Canario
    Alemanda La Preciosa

C 9630 GASPAR SANZ
€9.99

The present CD is available in most digital platforms both in lossy (mp3) and lossless formats, and always including the complete ebooklet. If you want to purchase it in a not supported format by the mentioned platforms, or you experience any problem, please contact us at shop@cantus-records.com and we shall send you instructions on how to get it immediately.