Laureate Guitar Series: Gabrie
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The young French guitarist Gabriel Bianco adds First Prize in the 2008 GFA International Solo Competition to an impressive list of previous awards from international competitions. He started playing guitar at the age of five, and graduated at the age o
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Bianco is special. A guitarist who has apperently lived the greuling life of a born musician, winning big-time contests and garnering praise of his playing throughout the world. In one [...] video, he appeares on television as a boy, giving a smooth rendition of a famous Tarrega piece. On another, we fast forward to the recording studio of Norbert Kraft where Bianco recorded this GFA Laureate Series disc. This video is where I first heard Bianco, playing his hauntingly emotive version of Mertz's Lob Der Thranen transcription. I have been awaiting this CD since then; months before it came out I had watched these brief videos a hundred times each.
A cultivated and well-defined sound serves as the pretense on which we are to judge the musicallity of this Naxos offering, and his success is evident from the first track. His Lob Der Thranen sings in a perfectly Schubertian manner, morose and glorious and hopeful. The Smallman guitar is ideal for this precise musician, and he coaxes a very vocal-like scratchy treble from his instrument on this track. A reference to anyone learning how this kind of Romantic music is to be playred.
After just three minutes, one is sold on Bianco. The second track could be recorded in a public bathroom on my guitar and we wouldn't care less.
But Bianco thinks we deserve better, and cooks with gas on Mertz's Capriccio from the Bardenklange, op. 13. The tone on this piece is stronger and perfectly rounded, and refined to a degree of absurdity that one can't help but imagine Bianco spending months on each finger to perfect his technique. He really flies on this track, but it's so smooth and musical. Comparisons to Marco Tamayo would be apt.
There is major talent and skill here. Each track is perfect, and deserving of high praise. But if listeners need only one reason to buy this CD, aside from the stunning Lob Der Thranen, the Allegro Assai from Bach's Third Violin Sonata is that reason. A triumph of musicianship and cleverness, he employs his great skills in a subdued manner and keeps them serving the music faithfully. Bach on guitar is rarely as trancendant as it is here, and I hope that Bianco will eventually reset the standard for recorded versions of the Bach repertoire.
There is no last word on Gabriel Bianco yet, so go buy this record of history and cherish it. It well be very interesting and gratifying to watch and listen as Bianco matures, and you will want to have been in on it from the beginning!
I've always loved Mertz's music, and these are the best recordings of these works - bar none. An unbelievable amount of detail went into these interpretations from start to finish. Bianco perfectly captures the mood of each piece and from his playing, one would never guess these were technically difficult pieces. The flow Bianco has is incredible; the guitar seems to be just an extension of his body. A shift seven positions up sound little different from nearby notes. The "Tarantella" as recorded on this CD is actually the first recording of this piece that I find is actually interpreted right. Other players slow down way too much throughout the piece - this is a dance and the momentum should be kept. Bianco truly set a new standard for playing Mertz on the guitar with these five tracks.
I have not heard many recordings of this piece on the guitar, but I can safely say this is Bach played at his best. The Fugue is played exquisitely with each voice clear and as with the Mertz: it sounds at ease despite the difficulty. The other movements are played beautifully as well and one would never guess Bianco was such a young player. It usually takes young players years and years to have such a mature sound, but Gabriel Bianco has a polished well thought out sound in his first CD. These Bach tracks are among my favorite recordings of the great composer.
I will not comment much on this set as I have a hard time relating with this Sonata. This piece has its moments, but much of it I feel is not very interesting to listen to. Maybe this piece will grow on me? This piece is obviously extremely technically difficult and I commend Bianco for playing it.
I knew right from the first few minutes of this recording that it was going to be one of my favorite CDs. The recording quality is fantastic and Gabriel Bianco is fantastic throughout interpretively as well as technically. I can't wait to see how he matures as a guitarist and for his next CD!
This in the only place I have ever dealt with that lets you download once. Stupid.
In my order record you have two choices, and this "review" is one of them. The other choice (download a player) won't help either.
Hope someone at Amazon, somewhere can see this message. Otherwise I will have to cancel my charge on VISA for the purchase.