[Guest Review] Classical Guitarist, XueFei Yang, China – February 20, 2016

XFY_medSQSpain, China, France and more…

XueFei Yang graced us with her refined sense of style and technique last night for a third performance on the Marlow Series in just five short years. It’s not often we’re visited with such frequency by one performer, but a couple come to mind: Pepe Romero and David Russell, so she’s in excellent, established company on the one to ten scale – and, there’s good reason for it.

I have said before, I will do so again, the international flavor the Marlow series offers provides a steady glimpse into the culture and history of our interconnected world with artists who share their treasures and introduce us to the infinite range of human expression. When Ms. Yang altered the order of her program to ensure her native Chinese heritage did not stand on its own after intermission, it was an illuminating call. There’s clearly a lot more that shines on the classical guitar than the usual mix of Spanish and Latin American composers – like the Welsh composer, yes, I said Welsh, Stephen Goss’ carefully crafted interpretations of the Book of Songs based on ancient Chinese poetry (a tall task for a non-native). Of the six Songs composed out of a universe of 305 poems, the sweetest was Ms. Yang’s admitted favorite, “Pastoral”, with its “wind blowing in the long grass and trees.” There’s something perfect about the pentatonic influence with which Chinese traditional music is infused. Renaissance composers loved the perfection of the perfect fifth and treated it with great reverence, but its influence came from the Far East. You can’t write traditional Chinese music without the pentatonic scale and this Welshman employed it admirably throughout these lovely pieces. This music is well suited for the guitar which sounds more like an Asian instrument then a western one when plucked as sensitively as rendered by Ms. Yang.

Debussy’s La Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin arranged by Julian Bream appropriately followed the Book of Songs hinting at the chinoiserie of Claude’s evolving psyche and by the time de Falla’s Homenaje, pour le tombeau de Debussy brought the first half of the program to a close, Ms. Yang had once again demonstrated how remarkably her delicate digits slide over the frets from one culture to another without a fumble. Both composers would have been impressed.

Granados opened the second half of the concert with Valses Poeticos arranged by Ms. Yang. Granados was not a composer of music for the guitar so if you want to know what this opus should sound like, you might be interested in listening to a recording by Alicia de Larrocha whose passionate playing defines this delightful and alternatingly sentimental work with the fullness it demands. Listen to Alicia and you’ll wonder how anyone else could manage it so well. It’s a difficult one to translate but it was done so with great accomplishment and nerve by Ms. Yang.

The Chinese traditional music was my personal fav on last night’s program. There’s nothing quite as tranquil as listening to the cascading chords of a waterfall in an enchanting garden. This is what it felt like listening to this fluid work as quick and complex as they get but done with the ease of a true professional — so effortless, yet so difficult and astutely realized. Ms. Yang is truly a cut above and the season’s not even over yet!

David Russell on March 12 needs no introduction, so purchase your tickets now, they won’t last long and join us for another remarkable evening unlike any other around this town.

Deborah Drayer

Billy Novick & Guy Van Duser, USA : April 22, 2017 8pm

bg_med_sqWe conclude with the great fun and sweet melodies of Swing jazz. This fabulous duo of guitar and clarinet will carry us through the Big Band, gypsy jazz and American Songbook eras.

“Smooth-struttin’ jazz and smokey blues…a rare fusion of emotion and intellect.”
– – Montreal Gazette

“A sound so full that it’s hard to believe only two people hold the stage.”
– – Calgary Herald


Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Billy.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016, which is TODAY!

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo supplied by artist
Sponsored by Shereen Remez

Margarita Escarpa, SPAIN: March 18, 2017 8pm

me_med_sqSpanish guitarist Margarita Escarpa, a Marlow audience favorite, celebrates her Marlow return with a special program of Spanish and Mexican repertoire.

A winner of international competitions, Margarita combines impressive technique with warm interpretation and musicality.

“ … Escarpa held the audience under her seductive and bewitching spell. She indeed is a musical sorceress.”
The Tribune, Salt Lake City

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Escarpa.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016.

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo supplied by artist

Sponsored by Duane Morse

Antigoni Goni, GREECE : February 25, 2017 8pm

AG_Med_SQ.jpgSince first winning competitions and public admiration in the 1990s with her colorful and virtuosic playing, Greek guitarist Antigoni Goni has gone on to an international career, performing throughout Europe, Russia, North and South America and Asia.

Antigoni’s Marlow debut coincides with the release of her beautiful new solo album, ‘Hymn to the Muse’, a recording of works inspired by Greece.


Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Goni.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016.

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo by Simone Scozzari

Zoran Dukiç, CROATIA: January 28, 2017 8pm

zd_med_sqReturning to Marlow after his stunning 2015 series debut, Zoran Dukiç is a phenomenon not to be missed. His effortless fluidity and depth of expression astound audiences around the world.

“A thrilling concert… the audience was on its feet after the first piece… a phenomenal evening.”
–Gevelsberger Zeitung, Germany

Cultural Arts Center of Montgomery College
Silver Spring/Takoma Park
7995 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Dukic.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016.

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo by Mario Majcan.

Rene Izquierdo, CUBA: November 19, 2016 8pm

ri_med_sqRene Izquierdo was recognized from a young age as one of the finest guitarists to emerge from Cuba. Known for his warm tone and impeccable musicianship, we look forward to welcoming Rene for his Marlow debut.

“His natural and instinctive interpretations are second to none: his virtuoso technique allows him absolute command of the instrument.”
– –  Classical Guitar Magazine

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Izquierdo.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016.

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo supplied by the artist
Sponsored by Cheryl Dragoo and Gonzalo Palacios

Jason Vieaux, USA: October 22, 2016 8pm

jv_med_sq

Expressive and virtuosic, Jason Vieaux is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation” (NPR) and “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists” (Gramophone).

Vieaux returns to Marlow for the first time since winning a 2015 Grammy for his album ‘Play’.

Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ
1 Westmoreland Circle,
Bethesda, MD 20816

Season Tickets available now: marlowguitar.org
Music Clip: http://marlowguitar.org/Season23/Music/Vieaux.wav
Individual Tickets will go on sale Thursday, September 15, 2016.

— We can’t wait. Hope to see you there. —
photo by Tyler Boye.
Sponsored by Charlotte Kuenen and David Kirstein

 

Getting ready for the John E. Marlow Guitar Season 2016-2017!

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Dear friends,

You may have already seen one reminder that went out about one of our artists just today. It gave me an excuse to write up a post that describes the entire season.

In case you haven’t visited our Facebook page or our ticket website, this is where you can get your Season tickets: marlowguitar.org and listen to music clip samples.

jv_med_sqJason Vieaux, USA
Saturday, October 22, 2016
8pm

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here

 

 

 

ri_med_sqRene Izquierdo, CUBA
Saturday, November 19, 2016
8pm

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here

 

 

 

zd_med_sqZoran Dukic, CROATIA
Saturday, January 28, 2017
8pm

Cultural Arts Center Montgomery College
7995 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD 20910

Get your Season Tickets Here

 

 

 

ag_med_sqAntigoni Goni, GREECE
Saturday, February 25, 2017
8pm

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here

 

 

 

me_med_sqMargarita Escarpa, SPAIN
Saturday, March 18, 2017
8pm

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Get your Season Tickets Here

 

 

 

bg_med_sqSaturday, April 22, 2017
8pm

Westmoreland Congregational Church
1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816

Billy Novick & Guy Van Duser, USA

Get your Season Tickets Here