Frangiz Ali-Zadé was born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1947. She studied piano with Ulfan Chalilow and composition with Faradzh Karajew. Her compositions combine the complexity of the Mugam system, which is the base of the Azeri musical tradition, with varied techniques of contemporary western music.
Her Works are played and recorded by some of the most highly regarded contemporary musicians and orchestras.
Phantasie (1995) is the first piece that Ali-Zadé composed for the guitar. This composition is one movement divided into three main sections and different tempi. According to the author, it is a “single articulated melody which moves sinuously”.
If Albert Schweitzer had not conferred the title of “poet-musician” to J.S Bach in his legendary book about the composer, there would be few other composers for whom this title would be more appropiate than for Henri Sauguet (1901-1989). He was supported by Darius Milhaud and formed part of the circle of friends of Eric Satie.
From a very young age, Sauguet was attracted to opera and ballet although there was barely a genre which this composer did not explore during his long life: incidental music, symphonic and chamber music, coral, “chansons”, opera, ballet, and even “musique concrète”.
It is not a surprise therefore that when Sauguet writes “Soliloque”, in 1958, in remembrance of Manuel de Falla, that he chooses the guitar as the appropiate instrument to evoke with subtle, and sometimes almost impressionistic harmonies, the spanish composer.
Atanas Ourkouzounov (b. 1970) is one of the foremost representatives of contemporary Bulgarian music. His unique style is characterized by a combination of novel use of textures in the music written for guitar, traditional rhythms of Eastern European music, and a singular capacity for melody.
Contes des Balkans (1997) contains many elements of Balkan music passed through the filter of Ourkouzounov´s creative genious. One finds the modal melodies, the irregular time signatures and entire sections in pizzicato which are common characteristic of his music.
Farewell (1993) was originally written by the brazilian Sergio Assad (b. 1952), as a number within the suite “Summer Garden”, which was a soundtrack the composer wrote in 1993 for a Japanese film, and was later adapted by its author as a piece for solo guitar.
Farewell captivates its listener through its melodic beauty and harmonic simplicity.
Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931) was born in Cistopol, a small town near Kazan. She studied in the conservatory of Kazan and then later in Moscow.
Works such as the “Cantata Rubayat”, “Seven Words”, and the “Sonta for percussion” situate her as one of the most original and important of Russian composers.
There are two themes that weave throughout her body of work: the internal contradictions within the human being and religion. She says, “I´m a religious person and I conceive of religion in its etymological sense as re-linking and restoring the integrity of the human being. Life tends to divide us into many pieces. Something is necessary to restore that sense of wholeness, and religion serves this purpose: there is no vocation more important than the recomposition of spiritual integrity in the human being through the creation of music.”
The Serenade (1960), along with a short Toccata, are the only guitar pieces written by the composer.
The uniqueness of Štĕpán Rak´s music comes in great part from the circumstances of his life. This Czech musician was born cerca 1945 in a small Ukranian town which was being bombarded at the very moment of his birth. Neither of his parents survived the bombardment.
In his youth, Rak excelled as a painter, and later as a guitarist with awe-inspiring technique and a great capacity for improvisation. He also developed as a composer and has written some of the most beautiful pieces in the twentieth century guitar repertory.
The two pieces by him included here share in common the nostalgia of the author for the period between 1975 and 1980 in which Rak lived in Jyväskylä, Finland.
Farewell Finland (1979) (Näkemiin Suomi), is a complex and extensive piece built upon the base of a Finnish folk song. The piece is full of highly elaborated transmutations of the basic theme, which are linked together by the cell composed of the initial three notes that appear throughout the piece with obsessive insistence.
Rak uses, the technique of retro variation in this sonata with notable success: the true climax of the piece –more nostalgic than dramatic- occurs when, nearing the end, the melancholic melody of the traditional song “Taivas on sininen ja valkoinen” (“The sky is blue and white”) appears complete and undistorted for the first time, giving meaning and a sense of unity to the whole work.
The Nocturne (1974) was also written based on a Finnish melody. It is, on the contrary, a brief and delicate piece whose simplicity helps to create its enchantment.
Born in Buenos Aires, in 1979, Esteban Colucci began his music studies at the age of 5 at the Collegium Musicum of Buenos Aires and then entered the Conservatorio Manuel de Falla as a student of Víctor Villadangos and Javier Bravo.
He has given concerts extensively as a soloist and in chamber music ensembles in his country and abroad. In the field of contemporary music he has worked close to many composers and premiered a great number of works.
He also holds a degree in chamber music from the Unla., where he studied with pianist Alicia Belleville.
Recorded between April 2005 and September 2007
at the Raggio Museum, Buenos Aires
Recording Engineer: Constanza Sánchez
Art Design: German Serain
Booklet Notes: Esteban Colucci
English Translation: Max Edleson
Guitar: Oscar Trezzini, 2004