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62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Listening to the debut album by guitarist Milos Karadaglic, you find yourself wondering where on earth the classical guitar has been lately. As he moves from haunting compositions by Tarrega, Albeniz and Granados to the more abstract shapes of Carlo Domeniconi's Koyunbaba suite, it's as if Karadaglic is shining a brilliant light on the entire heritage of his instrument. "The Seventies was the golden time of the guitar, but the situation was different because there was so much support from the media, the BBC and everybody," says Milos (he's known by just his first name). "Because of Julian Bream and John Williams, the classical guitar really was a household name, but then the world changed, and the kind of music people wanted to listen to changed. I want to wake the guitar up from this hibernation, and show what I can do and what my instrument can do." "Can do" are two words that sit comfortably with Milos. Born 28 years ago in the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro, he felt driven from an early age to be an artist and performer. Since Montenegro has a population of only 600,000 and no discernable classical guitar tradition, making a career on the instrument was what might be called "a big ask". It all began when Milos discovered an ancient and dusty guitar with broken strings on top of a cupboard in his parents' bedroom. Inexplicably, this sorry wreck of an instrument convinced him that he must become a guitarist. Since, as he puts it, "it was still kind of communist then" and there were no private music teachers, he enrolled in the state music school. His progress was blindingly swift. By the age of nine, he was giving public performances, and at 11 he won his first national competition. He was also a talented singer, and his astounding precocity made him a star of Montenegrin TV and radio. It provided a welcome distraction from the chaos tearing the former Yugoslavia apart. Montenegro was never engulfed by the horrors that overtook Bosnia or Croatia, but the population suffered food shortages and travel restrictions, while being in the awkward position of sharing borders with all the combatants. Milos doesn't like to dwell on this historical blackspot. "I don't want to sound as though I experienced the war myself, because I didn't. I didn't have bombs falling on my head, and I didn't lose anybody like other people did. It would be disrespectful of me to talk about it." Fast forward, then, to 1996, when Milos, barely into his teens, had his first opportunity to travel outside Montenegro to play a concert. It was in Paris, and he was dazzled by its western European prosperity and air of pre-Christmas gaiety. While there, he bought his first proper guitar, a José Ramirez model paid for from his parents' savings. A subsequent meeting with Glasgow-born classical guitarist David Russell convinced Milos that he must study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After taking masterclasses in Belgrade and slaving hard to improve his technique, he took the plunge and sent a homemade tape of his performances to the Royal Academy, where Prof Michael Lewin perceived something special in Milos's playing; he was awarded a scholarship. Subsequently, Milos earned first-class honours and a master's degree, as well as being made a junior fellow of the college. Lewin became his mentor. "I came to the academy as a naïve child, and I had these ideas about music and how I wanted to sound, but I needed somebody to steer it. Michael was incredible because he never stopped me from expressing myself the way I wanted to, but he always helped me express myself better." Lewin's influence has translated into creative assistance on Milos's album, which includes four pieces by Albeniz and Granados that Lewin transcribed for guitar. Milos is especially smitten with Lewin's treatment of Granados's piece, Oriental. "Sometimes, guitar arrangements of piano pieces make too many compromises," he says, "but Michael found a way to keep the artistic quality, but adjusted for the guitar so it always lies naturally under the hand. Oriental is the most exposed piece I have ever played, and you have to really dig inside yourself to express it. I listened to my recording again last night, after not hearing it for a while, and it's really magical." Milos's thematic idea for the album was that it should comprise music from the Mediterranean region. "I was inspired by wonderful records of Segovia playing Granados, Albeniz and Tarrega. There's a huge Arabic influence there because the guitar was brought to Spain by the Moors. Then from the eastern Mediterreanean we have two pieces from Epitaphios, by [Greek composer] Mikis Theodorakis." At the core of the disc is the four-part Koyunbaba suite by the contemporary Italian composer Domeniconi, which Milos holds in almost mystical regard. "I first heard it when I arrived in London 11 years ago. It gripped my imagination because it took me back to my childhood and places in Montenegro where I would go and sit for hours, thinking about the future. It uses very difficult techniques that make the instrument almost not sound like a guitar any more. When I performed it for the first time, people in the audience were crying. I always feel like I'm in a trance when I play it." This is just the beginning for Milos, and his horizons seem limitless. He has been mulling over a variety of plans for broadening the guitar's reach and repertoire. "Julian Bream and John Williams worked with contemporary composers and raised the level of the guitar to establish it as an equal instrument on the concert platform," he says. "I'd love to work with film composers, because film is such an influential medium. To do a soundtrack or a new solo piece would be wonderful. "The guitar needs a renaissance. There isn't a more accessible or beautiful instrument, and I want to bring it to a new generation of listeners." -- Adam Sweeting: The Daily Telegraph

Lovers of the classical guitar have a new hero in the young Montenegran Milos Karadaglic, whose artistry is so compelling that it should win many new admirers. Albéniz, Granados and Tárrega form the Spanish heart of his programme, while Theodorakis's Epitáphios and the haunting Koyunbaba by the Italian Carlo Domeniconi also feature. The playing is lithe, subtle of timbre and transcendentally beautiful. -- Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, 12 May 2011

From the Artist

Milos said of his signing: "Deutsche Grammophon is a home to many of my musical idols. When I was a child, I remember listening to the great guitarist, Andrés Segovia, and dreaming that one day I, too, might have such a career. Now it is becoming a reality and my dreams are being fulfilled more quickly than I could possibly have imagined. I am honoured and excited to begin my collaboration with this fantastic label and hope, through my playing, that I will bring the guitar to a new generation of listeners."

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Albéniz: Suite española, Op.47 - No.5 AsturiasMilos Karadaglic 6:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Tarrega: Recuerdos De La AlhambraMilos Karadaglic 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Albéniz: Suite española, Op.47 - No. 3 SevillaMilos Karadaglic 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Tarrega: LagrimaMilos Karadaglic 2:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Anonymus: Jeux Interdits - Spanish RomanceEnglish Chamber Orchestra and Milos Karadaglic and Paul Watkins 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Tarrega: AdelitaMilos Karadaglic 1:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Albéniz: Suite española, Op.47 - No.1 GranadaMilos Karadaglic 5:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Domeniconi: Koyunbaba, Op. 19 - 1. ModeratoMilos Karadaglic 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Domeniconi: Koyunbaba, Op. 19 - 2. MossoMilos Karadaglic 1:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Domeniconi: Koyunbaba, Op. 19 - 3. CantabileMilos Karadaglic 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Domeniconi: Koyunbaba, Op. 19 - 4. PrestoMilos Karadaglic 3:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Theodorakis: Epitaphs - 3. A Day In MayMilos Karadaglic 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Theodorakis: Epitaphs - 4. You Have Set, My StarMilos Karadaglic 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Tarrega: Capricho Arabe SerenataMilos Karadaglic 5:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Llobet: Catalan Folk Songs - El testament d'AmeliaMilos Karadaglic 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. Granados: Danzas españolas, Op.37 - No.5 AndaluzaMilos Karadaglic 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Granados: Danzas españolas, Op.37 - No.2 OrientalMilos Karadaglic 6:25$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Composer: Isaac Albeniz, Francisco Tarrega, Carlo Domeniconi, Mikis Theodorakis, Miguel Llobet
  • Audio CD (June 21, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B004PKOKU2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,111 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Rohan Pethiyagoda on July 2, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this CD because I saw it reviewed in The Economist (a newspaper that rarely reviews music). I treasure many CDs by Segovia, Williams and Bream in my collection and am familiar with most of the pieces on Milos's debut CD. So I didn't really expect anything new. Boy, was I wrong. Milos extracts an altogether refreshing tone from his instrument, and to my ear his technique and phrasing are flawless--and yet quite different from that of, for example, Bream, in the Albeniz and Granados pieces. That said the arrangement and almost meditative execution of Granados's Oriental is breathtaking. The acoustic of the Air Studio in London has an almost cathedral-like ambience; and DG's recording is demonstration quality, too, although some may find the fidelity with which the sound of the artist's breathing is transferred annoying (I did not). Mixed in with the better known pieces for guitar are ones by Domeniconi and Theodorakis, hopefully a signal that Milos will in future CDs look farther yet eastwards for his music while continuing also to dish up new interpretations of the better known repertoire. I you find your eyes welling up as you listen to this, don't say you weren't warned.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Milos Karadaglic. Remember the name and purchase this first ever recording by this brilliant young, handsome 28 year old from Montenegro who happens to be the new miracle in classical guitar we have been waiting to hear. His personal history is fascinating - a childhood surrounded by the wars in the Balkans, his early fascination with music and his eventual final training in the Royal Academy of Music in London where Michael Lewin recognized the next great talent in guitar and has mentored him since. But enough of personal data. This CD is a tribute to the great composers for the guitar past and present, to the extraordinary talent of Milos Karadaglic (who is simply using the first name as he enters the international realm of performance), and in every way it is a startling fine debut.

One of the aspects of Milos' skill is the quiet of his fingers as they slide along the strings on the fret. Unlike many of the guitarists who have recorded (even the masters like Segovia, Bream and Williams) whose squeak as the fingers move up and down the fret could be distracting, Milos is able to travel those note changes in silence. It is uncanny. His playing is so intensely musical that even on the better known works played here he presents them afresh. The result is an album of Mediterranean music for guitar that is now the gold standard.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bartolomé Mesa on June 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I love the sound of the guitar. Being a Spaniard from Andalucía, perhaps it should be expected. But my passion has always been opera and baroque music and I think what I find so appealing in that instrument is the way it seems to convey more obviously than others the raw emotions of the player. It is more accessible and to my ears its sound more earthy and sensual. Of course I have admired the sublime art of Andrés Segovia and the mastery of Narciso Yepes and -in a more popular vein- Paco de Lucía. So I approached the debut album of Milos Karadaglic with curiosity and a bit of reservation. Could this handsome young newcomer bring something that I couldn't find in the old masters? Did I need another only guitar CD? Well, the answer to both questions is yes. His chosen repertory is mainly Spanish and well recorded many times over.But I find his playing both fresh and stunning. The sound he extracts from those strings are truly mind-blowing. But he is more than a mere virtuoso. His passion for the instrument since childhood seems to have created a relationship with the instrument close to lovemaking and he gives all of himself, body and soul, to each piece, although I find the first track (Asturias) particularly moving. This is an extraordinary debut album. The half hour little documentary on the DVD is quite interesting too, giving fine close-ups of his playing.

PS. Titled "Mediterráneo" instead of "The Guitar" in the US release.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I am a lifelong lover of guitar, especially classical. I fell in love with Julian Bream's beautiful playing when I was in grade school, practically falling into a hypnotic trance every time the classical radio station played one of his albums. Even though there are MANY guitarists I love, I never found anyone to make me feel the way Bream does--until NOW. Now, there is MILOS. Oh. My. Goodness.

If you were lucky enough to hear his wonderful interview on Sirius Radio with Paul Bachmann, he tells about his childhood during the Balkan Civil Wars, and how he adored Segovia and flamenco in particular. He was naturally gifted, fingers moving at light speed, but when he arrived, a young music student in London, he realized that his natural gift had to be strengthened by hard work on basic, boring but essential technique. This, he did with the same intensity and the result is a scintillating sound with a warmth that I have not heard since Bream's lute-influenced tones.

This album has some delicious stuff; the astonishingly clear yet emotional Asturias of Albeniz, and even better, the subtle Oriental of Granados. What's fascinating about both these works, is that they were actually originally piano works imitating the sound of Spanish guitar. These had to be re-arranged for guitar (art imitating art?) and the Oriental sounds (Bachmann points out) as if it is played by two guitars, but Karadaglic's own arrangement is a triumph of deceptive simplicity, a clever work-out of a problem of two melodic hands melding into one.
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