Manuel Barrueco / Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia / Víctor Pablo Pérez CONCIERTO BARROCO

Here are five excellent works for guitar and orchestra. The longest are the pair by Roberto Sierra (b. 1953), each a few seconds over 13 minutes. Folías is a modern set of variations on that tune most of us first met in Corelli’s variations (La folia). Concierto barroco combines Afro-Cuban and Baroque elements. It also contains some modern dissonances or polytonalities along with its neo-Baroque passages. Folías sounds rather like Richard Strauss combined with Manuel de Falla and seasoned with a dash of Joaquín Rodrigo. Sierra’s pieces begin and end the concert, while Vivaldi’s typically vigorous—and genuinely Baroque—concertos are second and fourth on the disc. Arvo Pärt’s mesmerizing Fratres serves as centerpiece.
Pärt wrote Fratres for violin, string orchestra, and percussion, but suggested this arrangement when Manuel Barrueco approached him about writing a work for guitar. I have compared the guitar version with the original on a Deutsche Grammophon disc with violinist Gil Shaham, conductor Neeme Järvi, and the Gothenburg Symphony; either version holds my attention very well indeed.
As expected, Barrueco plays splendidly, and so does the Symphony Orchestra of Galicia, based in La Coruña—yet another provincial band capable of world-class performance. Koch delivers deliciously warm and vivid sound. This disc will be high on my list of potential holiday presents. (Robert McColley, FANFARE)

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