Yes, it's a good instrument for elaborate etudes, quaint waltzes and flamenco, but a guitar can also be intimate and spellbinding.
Tuesday at the Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernandez opted for intimacy in a solo recital of five works plus an encore.
Beginning the evening on a meditative tone, Benjamin Britten's familiar, Orient-inspired set of variations, "Nocturnal after John Dowland" (1963), showed off Fernandez's mastery of seamless melodies in both homophonic and contrapuntal passages.
Most demanding, Bach's Partita No. 1 (originally in B-flat but here transposed to the remote but more playable key of E) found him struggling at times, especially in the Courante, but prevailing over his own, intensely difficult transcription. Despite a few stylistic anachronisms, his treatment of Bach rang with authenticity and dazzled with mesmerizing virtuosity.