Kazu Suwa Guitar Recital
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Audio CD, August 31, 2015
A collection of 22 tracks of Spanish and South American music presented in an enthralling interpretation by Kazu Suwa. The album consists of some of the most well-known guitar pieces by Tarrega, Barrios, and Villa-Lobos as well as hidden masterpieces that are hardly recorded and/or performed by others, including Ayala, Fleury, Garoto, and one of his unusual guitar transcriptions and recordings of piano works by Spanish/Catalan composer Frederic (Federico) Mompou. This debut CD album 'Guitar Recital' received 'Semi-Highest Honour' in the Japanese classical music magazine Record Geijutsu (Art of Records) in April 2015. Note: This CD album includes a finely detailed 36-page booklet written by a leading music critic Mr Robert Matthew-Walker in English and translated into Spanish and Japanese by Kazu Suwa.
The programme opens with 6 works by Tárrega. By listening to these alone, it's clear that Kazu Suwa is a guitarist of extraordinary talent in the area of lyrical and poetic expression. His playing style exhibits melancholic expression appropriated for the guitar without any inhibition, striking a responsive chord in the hearts of the audience. On the other side, more conservative listeners can safely be in love with such a world since the evidence of solid performance techniques is surely honoured. After works by Tárrega, he moves to South America. Pieces by Fleury, Ayala, Barrios, Reis and Vila-Lobos are played with similarly rich lyricism. 'Adeux' by Sor and Canciones y Danzas by Mompou in the latter part of the disc are also excellent. --Jiro Hamada (Record Geijutsu Magazine, April 2015, Japan)
The playing is really delicate. I can sense his making a sincere effort to weave only beautiful notes. I also feel his passion for exploring hidden masterpieces that others are not interested in. For instance, from Ayala whose only known work is 'Serie Americana' he takes up the unusual 'Arco Iris (Rainbow)' which is of singular beauty, and from Reis whose only known piece is 'If she asks' he gives us 'Eterna Saudade'. Loyal fans will be delighted with the milonga works by Fleury which are clad in a sentimental light. The music of Mompou which it s said Kazu Suwa likes to explore also makes my ears prick up. (...) Even though this guitarist s prowess is not yet widely known, this CD ensures he will remain in people's memory as a very talented artist. --Mitsuhiko Hamada (Record Geijutsu Magazine, April 2015, Japan)
A musician in the broadest sense of the word. Mr Kazu Suwa's truly faithful arrangements, precision in interpretation and his tone quality indicate to us that the guitar is a perfect instrument to extract the musical essence of each piece by Mompou. --Fundació Mompou/Mompou Foudation (Barcelona)
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There are many felicities before that wistful ending. The Gran Vals of Tarrega with its famous embedded Nokia ring-tone (some day soon we’ll have to explain that bit of trivia to younger people who don’t remember flip-phones or Nokia) is a highlight. I loved the two small Milongas of Abel Fleury, and was impressed with the graceful swing Suwa brings to them. The great Choro da Saudade by Barrios Mangore is a more substantial piece, and Suwa plays it with seriousness and majesty, while he draws out the nostalgic sorrow underlying the music. Another standout is the 6th Fantasia of Fernando Sor, subtitled ‘Les Adieux’, and again Suwa has its measure.
The sound of the disc is excellent, and the production values are very high. There’s an excellent, insightful 11-page essay about the music written by Robert Matthew-Walker. This disc is highly recommended.