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Ricardo Cobo and Ken Meyer at the AGF

July 25, 2006
guitare 2.jpgThe skies exploded just before guitarists Ken Meyer and Ricardo Cobo took the stage on Saturday night -- fitting weather for a dramatic, elemental program that capped the fifth Alexandria Guitar Festival.   Contrasting styles and repertoire made it a fascinating evening:  Meyer (head of guitar studies at Syracuse University) stayed mostly in Europe;  his account of the "Drei Tentos" from 1958 by Hans Werner Henze (remembered distantly from an ancient Julian Bream LP) was a particular joy. Cobo was in fine form -- wild, fearless and intuitive as always, mixing the familiar (Piazzolla) with rarely heard beauties (Ignacio Figueredo's "Los Caujaritas") from across Latin America. Here's the review:

The Washington Post 7/25/06:  The annual Alexandria Guitar Festival is one of the undiscovered gems of the summer music scene, bringing some of the planet's best classical guitarists to town for a week of intimate and always interesting recitals. The seven-concert series closed, alas, over the weekend -- but not before showcasing some spectacular talent.

Ken Meyer
Kenneth Meyer, who opened Saturday night's recital at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, is a thinking man's guitarist -- he focuses on the inner structure of a piece, rather than just poetic effect, and plays with impressive gravity and power. In lighter works (such as the frothy, lights-on-but-nobody's-home "La Rossiniane," by Mauro Giuliani), that approach was too earthbound to be really effective. But he brought three lyrical, wistful pieces by Hans Werner Henze beautifully alive, and infused Augustin Barrios's lovely "La Catedral" with almost ethereal light.

The Colombian guitarist Ricardo Cobo may be one of the finest guitarists of our time -- certainly he's a first-rank interpreter of Latin American music, as he showed in the tango-flavored second half of Saturday's program. From the driving "Acrilicos en Asfalto," by Eduardo Martin, to smoky cafe music from Horacio Salgán and the classic "La Muerte del Angel," by Astor Piazzolla, Cobo has the smoldering sensuality of Latin music deep in his blood, and played with heart-clenching passion.

But even the formidable Cobo may have been upstaged by the breathtaking recital Friday night by the young Italian virtuosos Lorenzo Micheli and Matteo Mela, who perform together as Soloduo.  Extraordinarily sensitive, with effortless command and an almost unbearable delicacy of touch, the duo's playing was nothing less than rapturous -- profound and unforgettable musicianship of the highest order.

Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 11:10AM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

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