April 24, 2017
Margarita Escarpa performance March 18, 2017
by Deborah Drayer
The John E. Marlow Series had nearly a full house on Saturday as Margarita Escarpa graced Westmoreland Congregational Church with its magnificent acoustics and a program of Spanish and Mexican music punctuated by Wolfgang Lendle’ stunning take on Caprice No.24 by Paganini. We often hear Spanish music from guitarists of varying nationalities, but hearing it direct from this genuinely accomplished Spaniard was an extra special treat. While many of us are more familiar with the likes of Rodrigo, Albeniz, Ponce, Tarrega and Piazzolla however, it was the Variations Capricieuses d’apres Paganini that demanded the most technically of Margarita even as some variations leaned into the humorous for effect.
The Lendle Paganini arranges the original thematic material for solo violin for the modern acoustic guitar, introducing fingering Paganini himself might have found challenging had he been a guitarist. Scales and arpeggios fly off the strings with enormous effect but only if both of the artist’s hands are up to it. Fortunately for the assembled, Ms. Escarpa had no difficulty meeting the challenge and any less calloused player would have walked away with a box of band aids in their pockets. But, Margarita needed no first aid and came back for the second half of the program with fingertips intact and serenaded us with habaneras and tangos by Tarrega, Sainz de la Maza and Piazzolla, as well as Ponce’s now rarely performed Variations sur “Folia de Espana” et Fuge.
Margarita was the last of our classical guitarists on this season’s program but Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser will end the season on an upbeat swing-jazz note you won’t want to miss. So make a calendar note for April 22 at 8:00 p.m. at WCC on the Westmoreland Circle.
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?)
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
It could not have been a better start to Marlow’s 23rd season. Jason Vieaux, co-founder of the Curtis Institute of Music’s Guitar Department in Philadelphia, set a strong precedent for artists who will follow in the 2016-2017 line up. But many performers Marlow has featured year after year have left such a lasting impression on Washington’s music scene.
Last Saturday, however, was a great joy to the collective ear. It’s hard to know where to start, but I’m going to start with what came last, the encore. If one had the ability to wait for it, and nearly all in attendance did, you couldn’t help but be memorably touched by Mr. Vieaux’s original interpretation of the classic song released in 1967, “It’s a Wonderful World.”
After the well known Tarrega and Albeniz works at the start of the evening, the Barrios and Brower near the end of the program, and the smashing Ellington “In a Sentimental Mood” as the last bit, one would think the program couldn’t be topped. Think again – what a delicious dessert we were served in that darling encore first recorded by Louis Armstrong during one of our country’s more turbulent political and cultural times. Maybe it could serve as a calming balm during our current political discord.
What can one say, though, about a performer whose classical repertoire includes jazz and popular greats delivered just as convincingly and assuredly as Segovia’s “Estudio Sin Luz”? Why should we be surprised about Jason’s versatility? But, we were, and very pleasantly so – so much so, that not one of his CD’s was left on the table by evening’s end. That’s a statement. Let’s hope he returns soon. The booking should commence now!
P.S. Don’t miss Rene Izquierdo of Cuba on November 19th. See you there!
– Deborah Dreyer
Tickets for Rene’s performance available: www.marlowguitar.org