Friday, November 5, 2010

Guitar Salon: “El Decameron Negro” of Leo Brouwer “sounds almost 'built' for John Williams”

[Leo Brouwer]

Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at

Guitar Salon International
Nov 04
“On paper, the program looked rather plain – essentially a bunch of old standard Williams classics – nothing terribly exciting – but this all changed once the music began. He was also very chatty with the audience – incredibly charming, humorous and informative, a very nice touch that I don’t recall being part of his presentation in previous recitals.”

“He then picked up the microphone and introduced the next item on the menu, the three-movement 'El Decameron negro', by Leo Brouwer, revealing the composer’s inspiration in the collected African folktales of the 19th (and early 20th) century anthropologist Leo Frobenius. This is a piece that sounds almost 'built' for John Williams, particularly in the second movement 'The Flight of the Lovers Through the Valley of Echoes'. With great ease, Williams blasted through the machine-like arpeggiated sections in the middle of the movement, where a series of variations on a theme are announced one by one, (each with an 'echo' trailing behind the initial announcement). The rhythmic precision and intense technical demands of the piece were no challenge to Mr. Williams as expected, but it is still something to behold. The final movement, a beautiful (and 'tonal') ballad rounded off the first half of the recital.

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