Classical

Guitar At Its Most Sublime

07 MAY 10 JASON SERINUS

Spanish Guitar Music showcases the gifted Cuban-born guitarist and composer Celedonio Romero, an artist of the highest order. Yet despite the support of the great Joaquin Turina, who praised him as "a magnificent artist of the classic guitar, an instrument which like no other reveals to us the heavens," his outspoken opposition to fascism derailed his career as a soloist.

Born in 1913, Romero began studies at a young age at the Conservatory of Málaga. Eventually he tutored under Turina at the Madrid Royal Conservatory, and made his formal concert debut around the age of 20. In 1957, after his opposition to Franco led to heavy restrictions on his ability to travel within Spain and to Europe, he and his family immigrated to southern California. Although he had little money, he managed to form The Romeros with his sons Angel, Celin, and Pepe, and build a second career as a touring and recording ensemble.

The year before the quartet made its debut in 1961, the elder Romero and his son Celin recorded an LP of Spanish Guitar Music for Contemporary Records. The sonorous recital, which realistically captures the sound of the guitar at close range, mixes music by Albéniz, Malats, Romero himself, Tárrega, Sors, Sanz, and de Viseo with two traditional melodies. Beautifully transferred by Telarc, the playing lives up to Turina's praise. Celedonio Romero's fingering is impeccable, his lilt and phrasing sublime. This is about as good as it gets.