ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
JOAQUIN CLERCH - Concierto de Cáceres


JOAQUIN CLERCH - Concierto de Otoño - Concierto de Cáceres - Anette Maiburg (Flute) - Joaquín Clerch (Guitar) - Thomas Gabrisch (Conductor) - Chamber Orchestra of Havana - Hybrid SACD - 760623174266 - Released: May 2012 - MDG 90361742

Many present generation composers, due to a lack of skills or imagination, overcompensate by attempting to be clever and innovative, or mimic whatever is deemed to be "in" at any given moment, with the end result that neither modus operandi produces any music worth listening to. Such is not the case with Cuban composer Joaquín Clerch (b 1965), who also happens to be a world class guitarist. His writing style is drenched in the Hispano/Latin tradition of Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Rodrigo, with a solid footing in neo-romantic music performance.

The Concierto de Cáceres, for Guitar and Orchestra in particular is filled with a passion too often lacking in today's music. The first movement El dolor soars to heights of quasi-cinematic sweep, with many inspired moments, including a beautiful passage where the guitar elaborates over the sound of distant horns playing the main theme. As the composer himself points out, a disappointment in love gave rise to the idea for the second movement's main subject, a passionate melody that he again develops really well without falling into the usual trap known as overkill, and perfectly balances its use between the guitar and orchestra. The final movement's fiesta atmosphere exploits the more technical aspects of the guitar, all of which are dispatched with ease by Joaquín Clerch.

The Concierto de Otoño, for Flute and String Orchestra (Autumn Concerto) is a more traditional work in the soloist with orchestra sense, where the flute is the focus of attention rather than part of the orchestral fabric's texture with odd solo outings. Anette Maiburg leads the way with an animated and confident delivery that always reinforces the quality of the writing rather than her obvious technique. The whole work itself further demonstrates the composer's versatility and solid musical character.

Thanks again must go to MDG for casting their net farther away from the shores of mediocrity and the commonplace, and offering us something new and unusual to explore and enjoy.

Jean-Yves Duperron - June 2012