Pepe Romero & I Solisti Di Zagreb: Concierto Festivo

By Zwally, Randall | Notes, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Pepe Romero & I Solisti Di Zagreb: Concierto Festivo


Zwally, Randall, Notes


Pepe Romero & I Solisti di Zagreb: Concierto Festivo. DVD. Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, 2011. MB22202DVD. $19.99.

When The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) was planning its 100th anniversary celebration in 2003 it commissioned Ernesto Cordero to compose a new musical work for the event. Cordero, a New Yorker by birth, was raised in Puerto Rico and had taught musical composition and guitar performance at UPR. The work that Cordero eventually presented was Concierto festivo, a composition for chamber orchestra and guitar, which lie dedicated to the classical guitar virtuoso Pepe Romero.

In 2011, Mel Bay Productions released a DVD of a performance of this concerto featuring Pepe Romero as soloist with the Croatian chamber orchestra, I Solisti di Zagreb. Unfortunately there are no interviews or "extras-included on the DVD. It is just the 25-minute performance of the concerto. However, those are 25 minutes packed with vibrant new music performed by outstanding musicians.

Pepe Romero is an excellent choice to serve as soloist for this new concerto. His presence here brings an air of distinction and legitimacy to the entire endeavor. Romero is widely considered one of the finest classical guitarists of our time. He was knighted by the King of Spain (where Romero was born) for his noteworthy contributions to the world of music through his magnificent guitar performing. He has also served as Professor of Guitar at the University of Southern California.

Romero's performance in this DVD is impeccable, His flamenco-style strumming (known as "rasgueado") is robust, clean and crisply articulate. His tone has a clear, rich sonority which he is able to project with powerful focus. This type of masterful playing brings a wonderful touch of class and importance to this new concerto.

This work's three movements (Allegro elegante, Adagio con possesione, and Energico) offer truly pleasurable listening in a setting which is very appropriate for the 100'1' anniversary piece for UPR. The syncopated Caribbean rhythms used throughout the work reflect the music of modern Puerto Rico while the guitar playing style and melodies often remind the listener of old Spain reflecting the island's history. …

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