Guitarist Ana Vidovic: polished and elegant
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 09:49AM
Stephen Brookes

November 21, 2006

vidovic.jpgThe Washington Post 11/20/06:   Croatia's top exports, according to official statistics, are transport equipment, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs and fuels. Add to that list the young Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic, an exceptionally gifted and interesting musician who brought a program of mostly Spanish music to the Westmoreland Congregational United Church on Saturday night, as part of the Marlow Guitar Series.

Vidovic -- who, at 25, is about to release her sixth recording -- has been steadily building a reputation as one of the most technically accomplished young players around. And her playing on Saturday was virtually immaculate -- detailed, precise and polished to within an inch of its life.

But this was no mere virtuosic display. Vidovic's playing is nuanced and intensely personal, both deeply felt and deeply thought. And if it sometimes lacked the stormy depths that make Spanish guitar music so satisfying, it made up for it with real poetry, sensitivity and impeccable taste. Not one note was overplayed, not one gesture milked for effect.

The program was easy on the ears, if not exactly groundbreaking: the familiar "Suite Castellana" and the "Sonatina" of Federico Moreno Torroba, Isaac Albeniz's ubiquitous "Asturias," a couple of Heitor Villa-Lobos's ear-bending etudes, Manuel Ponce's "Sonatina Meridional" and Agustin Barrios Mangore's "La Catedral" -- a work performed so often in Washington that it seems to be required by law. The only soft spot in the program was a sentimental, pseudo-Spanish pastiche by Croatian composer Stjepan Sulek called "The Troubadours Three." Vidovic brought out everything that the piece had to offer -- and possibly more -- before ending the evening with Francisco Tarrega's "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" as an encore.


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