José Antonio Escobar | Modinha

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Modinha

by José Antonio Escobar

Classical guitar music of the great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
Genre: Classical: Modernist
Release Date: 

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1. 5 Preludes: No 1 in E Minor: Andantino espressivo
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4:42 $0.99
2. 5 Preludes: No. 2 in E Major: Andantino
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2:51 $0.99
3. 5 Preludes: No. 3 in A Minor: Andante; Molto adagio (e dolorido)
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3:45 $0.99
4. 5 Preludes: No. 4 in E Minor: Lento; Animato; Moderato; Lento
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4:14 $0.99
5. 5 Preludes: No. 5 in D Major: Poco animato
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3:56 $0.99
6. 12 Studies: No. 1 in E Minor: Animé (Prelude)
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2:04 $0.99
7. 12 Studies: No. 2 in A Major: Très animé
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1:36 $0.99
8. 12 Studies: No. 3 in D Major: Un peu animé
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1:30 $0.99
9. 12 Studies: No. 4 in G Major: Un peu modéré
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4:13 $0.99
10. 12 Studies: No. 5 in C Major: Andantino
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2:35 $0.99
11. 12 Studies: No. 6 in E Minor: Un peu animé
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1:59 $0.99
12. 12 Studies: No. 7 in E Major: Très animé; moderé
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4:38 $0.99
13. 12 Studies: No. 8 in C Sharp Minor: Moderé
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3:32 $0.99
14. 12 Studies: No. 9 in F Sharp Minor: Un peu animé
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3:59 $0.99
15. 12 Studies: No. 10 in B Minor: Animé
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3:57 $0.99
16. 12 Studies: No. 11 in E Minor: Lent; animé
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4:38 $0.99
17. 12 Studies: No. 12 in A Minor: Un peu animé
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2:21 $0.99
18. Serestas No. 5: Modinha
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2:41 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
José Antonio Escobar was born in Santiago de Chile, and studied from an early age under the renowned Ernesto Quezada at the University of Chile, graduating summa cum laude. He obtained his Master’s Degree after winning a Chilean Government scholarship to study under Franz Halász at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg-Augsburg, where he also became a teaching assistant. To complement these studies he has also attended master-classes with such teachers as Eliot Fisk, Hopkinson Smith, Eduardo Egüez and Juan Carlos Rivera.

His ability has been recognised with more than sixteen awards obtained at major international guitar competitions, most notably First Prizes at the 1997 Rio de Janeiro Heitor Villa-Lobos International Guitar Competition, the 1998 Caracas Alirio Díaz International Guitar Competition, the First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2000 Benicássim International Francisco Tárrega Competition in Spain, First Prize at the 2001 Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition in Malibu, First Prize (with the Second not assigned) at the 2003 Almería International Guitar Competition Julian Arcas, and First Prize at the 2005 Cáceres International Guitar Competition in Spain.

He has toured numerous cities throughout Europe, North, Central and South America, as well as the Asia/Pacific region, Middle East and North Africa, and has given concerts at the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre in London, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Teatro Monumental in Madrid, the Sala Teresa Carreño in Caracas, the Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, and the Cairo Opera House.

José Antonio Escobar has played as a soloist with various orchestras, most notably the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Mediterranean Symphony Orchestra, Spain’s Extremadura Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, and Germany’s Hofer Symphoniker. In 2001 he recorded his first recital CD with Naxos, and this was particularly well received by critics. He recorded live, the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo for Channel 2, Spanish TV, which was broadcast worldwide. His second CD, in 2004, included Guitar Sonatas for Spanish RTVE and his last CD, in 2008, Guitar Music of Chile for Naxos was his last release. He has taught at various universities in Chile and Germany. He is also frequently invited to teach master-classes at prestigious festivals and universities in several countries, including Trinity College of Music, London, the Bremen Musikhochschule, Darmstadt and Augsburg, Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia, and the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). Since 2004 he has served as Professor at the Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile.


Reviews


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Claude Lacoursiere

A fresh and brilliant reading. This is a must-have record.
The self published Modinha CD by the Chilean virtuoso José Antonio Escobar is not only a great addition to any self-respecting guitar player, but a joy to listen to for anyone who enjoys the romantic music of the 20th century.

Escobar revisits the standard fare of the 5 Préludes and the 12 Studies using the long lost 1928/29 Villa-Lobos manuscript as the main source. The commercially available 1953 edition of the monumental and well-loved 12 Studies are rife with errors and inconsistencies which the publisher has never bothered to correct over the years. Typical to Villa-Lobos, the 1928/29 manuscript used here is a piece of art in itself, and a model of precision and accuracy (you can order that from the Museu Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro). In addition, for reasons unknown, several of the studies, No 5 and No 9 in particular, were severely amputated in the published version of 1953. In going back to the original sources, Escobar restores the original intentions to their fullest expressiveness. Though several recordings based on the original 1928/29 manuscript are now available, Escobar's reading of this text is a must-have.

Escobar is an intelligent musician, not a vain virtuoso trying to shine with sheer speed and loudness. The 5 Préludes and 12 Studies contain very many challenges and difficulties which can be read in a boring, bravura sort of way. Escobar avoids all the traps, and equally avoids syrupy interpretation of the more romantic segments, in the slow part of Prélude 3 for instance. His choices of tempi help the music rather than demonstrating that indeed, he can play fast, as is required by the text in several places. To my own personal taste, he might err slightly on the fast side in a few places, in Study 2, 4, and 5, in particular. But Escobar does avoids cliché phrasing with over exaggerated ritenutos and such devices which can drive a music lover to drink in sorrow.

The beautiful music of Villa-Lobos shines all the way through this album, transcending the technical difficulties. Escobar navigates brilliantly between the pensive self-absorption, frightening flights of fury and passion, complicated rhythms, and lyrical moments.

Escobar's technique is remarkable in clarity and precision and his sound is rich without being too soft, and never harsh. His guitar does have unfortunate intonation problems which can be heard in a few places though (Study 4 in particular), regrettably. He produces little distracting string noises but, alas, slightly more than has become customary in modern classical guitar technique. Of course, this is nearly unavoidable in in Study 6 and 12, for instance.

There are other very beautiful recordings of this work. I would not part with my copies of similar programme by Alvaro Pierri, Johannes Tonio Kreucsch, or Joaquim Freire to name just a few, but Escobar's version is definitely among the very best in the modern generation of guitar players. In most places, surpasses the historic versions recorded by the likes of Andrès Ségovia, Julian Bream, and John Williams, if only for the freshness of the intention and the brilliant execution through which the text shines.

The title piece "Modinha" was new to me and it seems that it was never published and thus, only available in the newly recovered manuscripts used in this recording. This is not a masterpiece like the Préludes or the Studies but certainly a nice addition to the romantic repertoire of the guitar.

By several copies, keep one, give the others to your friends as presents. Listen to this frequently and, if a guitarist, study carefully.