I looked around for a second guitarist as Jorge Caballero played J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and I wondered how he would later bring out the orchestra in Pictures at an Exhibition. We were not disappointed.
We found out he was only eleven when he first attempted Kazuhiko Yamashita’s arrangement of Pictures and nineteen when he finally understood it enough to play and recorded it publically. Caballero intimated that the multifarious avant-garde sounds were best brought out using classical guitar techniques. Pictures at an Exhibition was a long piece that sounded very short, and he treated us to big orchestral sounds on just a six-string guitar!
Jorge Caballero gave a Master Class, co-hosted with Levine School of Music at their Silver Spring campus, in the Silver Spring Library on Sunday, January 29, 2017.
Jorge Caballero – January 28, 2017
When one is in the presence of greatness, one should be aware of it. I was certainly so on Saturday evening in the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center in Silver Spring. From the moment Jorge Caballero sat down and composed himself to present an exquisite rendering of four pieces from the Iberia Suite by Albeniz, my understanding of the capacity of the acoustic guitar was forever altered. With an impassioned performance, Mr. Caballero perceptively communicated the poetic Evocation with its echoes of Spanish fandango and jota song forms. He moved with such ease into El Puerto, a fine Andalusian could have cantered in natural gait to its rhythms. And, El Albaicin and Malaga further bore us through the southern Spanish coast sharing its culture and images. Only absent was the fine wine and food to accompany these masterful pieces.
From J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903, the take away impression was simply stunning, stunning, stunning. To reduce a score written for an instrument with two manuals and five octaves each and impose it onto an instrument with just six strings is nothing less than insane. What’s even more insane is that it actually works, at least in the hands of Mr. Caballero whose command of his instrument is, I’m sure, the envy of many a performer eking out a career in this demanding profession. The rapid fire execution of scales and counterpoint might cause any keyboardist to permanently close the lid on their instrument; but, to conquer its fugal fingering on six strings, well, the only comparison is that both the harpsichord and acoustic guitar are plucked.
Intermission gave listeners time to recover from part one of the program, but nothing could have prepared us for part two. As one of only two guitarists in the world to have mastered Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on six strings, Mr. Caballero made Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue sound like Lesson Book I instruction. All that can be said is the man has skills — many, many gifts and even more skills to back up his inborn, natural ability. I wasn’t expecting to attend a guitar concert and hear all virtuoso compositions originally composed for the keyboard. Guitarists are renowned for their ability to interpret music written for other instruments, but this program presented us with some of the most difficult keyboard music one could tackle and yet there we were transfixed by not only the tremendous aptitude of this performer but by the amazing sound and dynamic of his playing. You would be amazed too, if you were to plug into the Marlow Series. Its reputation attracts the best guitarists this temporal world offers. What a gift to this community, unlike any other. And, Jorge Caballero confirmed for us Saturday just how fortunate we are to be on the receiving end of greatness.
Looking forward to hearing Antigoni Goni from Greece on February 25th at Westmoreland Congregational Church in Bethesda.
A photo collection (taken by Susan Healy) of International Conservatory of Music Board Members and our John E. Marlow Guitar and Education and Outreach Directors gathering together to send out letters to you, our community.
The International Conservatory of Music: John E Marlow Guitar Series (represented by Directors & some Board Members) visited the Montgomery County Executive’s Ball this evening (Sunday, December 4, 2016) to celebrate the arts and, more specifically, to talk up our classical guitar programs in this area.
(Also, see the last two pictures, the organizers were raffling off some door prizes – does their Raffle whirligig look familiar to anyone?)
Artistic Director, Danielle Cumming & Education & Outreach Director, João Figurirôa.
Board Member Duane Morse & Diane Morse
Board Members Charlotte Kuenen and David Kirstein
Board Member William Herrmann and Friend of the Series Tomoko Shinagawa
(This attendee’s identity is unknown but as I approached, I distinctly heard Tim Healy mention Zoran Dukić’s name.)
Susan Healy, Board Emeritus and William Herrmann, Board Member
Rene Izquierdo, CUBA
Tim Healy with Rene Izquierdo
A couple with season tickets gave their friends a pair of tickets to experience Rene Izquierdo’s performance and this is what they said after the concert:
Cuban Guitars Rock!
At least one of them truly does.
Rene Izquierdo performed a dazzling array of Cuban and European guitar compositions to a full house last evening at the Westmoreland UCC church. We loved every moment and thank you for the privilege of attending — in second row seats, no less.
Izquierdo introduced virtually every composition he played, providing his audience with helpful background. The printed program added more.
Izquierdo’s mastery of his instrument was notable throughout the evening,
sometimes sounding like a harp, sometimes a harpsichord, sometimes a
dulcimer or a viola. Amazing.
Thank you again,
Steve and Pat