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The Black Decameron

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 17, 1998
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Product Details

  • Performer: John Williams, London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Steven Mercurio
  • Composer: Leo Brouwer
  • Audio CD (March 17, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000062E6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,012 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

5 star
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4 star
33%
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Top Customer Reviews

By Mikhail Asanovic on October 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was recommended to approach this CD with caution, as John uses his trademark "faultless and riskless" playing style to the maximum, but being a huge fan I had to explore. I was not disappointed.

The opening to Concerto Toronto is quite simply spine tingling, John's technical ability boggles the mind in what seems to be one of the hardest guitar compositions to date, and also one of the most beautiful. Brouwer's typical theme development techniques are used to great effect, and his orchestration is also very appropriate - a rare trait for a composer so dedicated to one instrument. In this first movement, I found myself rewinding and relistening many times to some of the phrases, as Williams' playing is so impeccable. The second movement, a theme and variations is also excellently presented, and especially the first variation, I'd like to hear any other guitarist play this well.

The Elogio de la Danza is also very neatly presented, if a little souless in parts, on the whole justice is done to this fine work.

El Decameron Negro promised such great things - One of Brouwers finest compositions played by a true master. However, looking beyond technical ability (which anyone would agree is here in buckets) El Arpa del Guerrero sounds as though the notes have been put into a computer and churned back out. Yes its fluid and mistakeless, but for such an estabished performer,I expected better and more original things.

His interpretation of La Huida de los Amantes por el Valle de los Ecos, however, is among the finest, if not the finest pieces of playing I have ever heard from John. The lyricism shines at every opportunity, and is strongly backed by his technique. If the gallop at the end leaves you unmoved, then see a doctor. Absolute magic.
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By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
In addition to the excellent premiere recording of Leo Brouwer's Concerto de Toronto (which, fortunately for Brouwer fans, includes several motifs used by Brouwer in some of his previous works), John Williams provides the listener with an outstanding rendition of the much recorded El Decameron Negro. His approach to La Huida de los Amantes por el Valle de los Ecos (The Flight of the Lovers Through the Valley of the Echoes) results in some of the most sensitive and energetic playing I have heard from Williams.
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Format: Audio CD
Normally I do not like John Williams playing Brouwer or any other South American composer for that matter. This CD however surprised me. The music is played with, as always, technical supremacy and a lot of feeling/emotion, which I think normally lacks when he plays Brouwer. The Concerto de Toronto is great. I never knew that Brouwer composed stuff like this. The El Decameron Negro is out of this world.
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