Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEWS

Guitar, Lute Program a Study in Contrasts

July 20, 1996|JOHN HENKEN

It would be hard to ask for greater contrast than the Cal State Summer Arts guitar and lute program delivered Thursday. The third double recital on the series, in Daniel Recital Hall at Cal State Long Beach, featured fragile Baroque rituals in attenuated performances from lutenist Franklin Lei and robust postmodernism--none of it more than 2 years old--in forthright playing from guitarist David Tanenbaum.

The centerpiece of Tanenbaum's portion of the program was the U.S. premiere of Roberto Sierra's five "Piezas Breves." The Puerto Rican composer has certainly made more imposing contributions to the guitar repertory, but these tuneful, uncluttered miniatures make pleasant listening. Equally direct and attractive were two post-minimalist pieces by Aaron Jay Kernis and the vigorous, percussive variations of Bryan Johanson's "La Folia."

As an unscheduled bonus, Tanenbaum dropped in the world premiere of his arrangement of Steve Reich's recent "Nagoya Marimbas." In this sleekly patterned, highly energetic music--something of a throwback in style for Reich--the guitarist was joined by Marc Teicholz, who has his own spot on the series Monday. In encore, Tanenbaum paid homage to the late Toru Takemitsu, with the Japanese composer's arrangement of "Yesterday."

Most of the Italian and French music presented by Lei had dance roots, but you would never know it from his rhythmically fitful, almost ametrical playing. He struggled with a 14-course archlute in two sonatas by Pietro Melii, leaving the polyphonic suggestions unsupported in music that seemed to huddle around uniformly embellished cadences every other bar.

In two suites by Jacques Gallot, Lei had stronger material and a less recalcitrant, 11-course lute to work with, which showed in better communication of line and affect. The Hong Kong-born lutenist's skills are well documented on recordings, but there were only tantalizing hints of potential flair in these dry, often labored readings.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|