A celebration of Spanish guitar with Manuel Barrueco

21 Oct

To celebrate its 110th year, London’s Wigmore Hall has launched a new guitar series to illustrate the versatility and popularity of classical, Spanish guitar music. The series kicked off last week with a concert by Grammy and BRIT award winner, John Williams, and continues this Sunday 24th October with the Cuban guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Barrueco has spent the last three decades touring the world and this concert will be his ninth visit to London. During his career he has played with renowned orchestras such as the London Symphony and Boston Symphony and in 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’.

His appearance at Wigmore Hall is set to celebrate the Spanish roots and folkloric elements of classical guitar. Barrueco’s repertoire will showcase Hispanic composers and their works from the nineteenth century Spanish Romantic, Manuel Ponce, to the famous Argentine tango composer, Astor Piazzolla.

Particularly moving will be the Sonata for Guitar by Barrueco’s compatriot Jose Ardévol which features variations on the Cuban country dance, the guajira.  Barrueco left Cuba in 1967 when he was 14 years old and has never returned, but an admiration of his country’s musical tradition remains. In an exclusive interview with Hispanic London, Barrueco said: “I like the guajira so much. It’s in my roots because I heard it when I was a kid in Cuba. That’s given me an understanding of the music. It’s a very interesting piece.”

For Barrueco, classical guitar is one of the only genres where Latin American and Spanish composers can espouse their culture’s musical offerings. While Hispanic composers’ work is less respected in comparison with the European classical tradition, they understandably dominate classical guitar.

“There are circles in the classical music world that tend to see Latin American music and composers as lesser than their European equivalents. Some concert pianists that are Latin American or Spanish feel pressured not to play Latin American compositions. It’s sad when you see that they’re afraid to touch the repertoire because they don’t want to be seen as Latin American players. As a guitarist I don’t have that problem because classical guitar is Spanish or Latin American in every way. It’s very happy music. You just have to embrace it.”

This Sunday, Manuel Barrueco will play:

Ardévol Sonata for Guitar

Piazzolla Cinco piezas para guitarra

Yanov-Yanovsky Little Lute Music in Memory of John Dowland (UK première)

Ponce Sonatina Meridional

Tárrega Capricho Árabe

Malats Serenata Andaluza and Serenata Española (arr. Tárrega)

The Wigmore Hall guitar series will continue with the Uruguayan guitarist Alvaro Pierri in March and in May with David Russell, who has swapped his native Glasgow for sunny Galicia.

For tickets priced from £5 to £30 call Wigmore Hall Box Office on 020 7935 2141 or visit http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/whats-on.

Hispanic London recommends: For those who are unfamiliar with Spanish guitar music, both John Williams’ El Diablo Suelto and, the less classical, The Motorcycle Diaries film soundtrack are great places to start.

Image 1: Wigmore Hall press image

Image 2: zzzyva

Video: thowzifRDX

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