“It opens with a trio of slightly solemn 16th century pieces … then picks up the energy with a lovely rendering of a piece by Sor. Suwa does a fine job on both the lyrical passages and the occasionally speedy runs that require deft and precise fingering. … Norwegian Edvard Grieg’s piano work Ensom vandre… is one of the prettiest pieces on the disc; and British composer Reginald Smith Brindle’s El Polifemo de Oro makes for a dour but effective companion to the preceding version of de Falla’s Homenaje pour Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy…. The tone of the album then shifts dramatically for the rest of the disc, which is generous selection of pieces by Spanish composer/guitarist Angel Barrios…. Hearing this large concentration of pieces was quite a revelation to me; as I’d only heard a few of these in isolation here and there. All are deeply imbued with an appealing Spanish lyricism and romanticism…. [T]here is genuine passion in these works, and the emotions evoked in a ballads like Eloísa and Jardin granadino are profound. I can’t tell you why this Barrios’ works aren’t played more than they seem to be, but perhaps this album will help change that. Hats off to Kazu Suwa for presenting such a deep dive into this relatively unheralded repertoire, and so beautifully!"
Blair Jackson, Classical Guitar Magazine (USA)
A winning Spanish tribute from Japanese guitarist
"It’s a wonderfully eclectic collection that is unapologeticcally Spanish, which is rather refreshing with so many classical guitarists today trying to establish a sort of disconnection with the country most associated with the guitar…. The Barrios pieces are a real find, and well worth the price of the recording. Kazu Suwa has found a way to link these pieces together with a fresh and searching perspective. This recording is certainly worth investigating."
Classical Guitar Magazine – Quarterly Summer 2018 Issue (USA)
"I reviewed Kazu Suwa’s excellent first recording in February 2016 and I have now been enjoying his follow-up entitled Adivinanza de la Guitarra. (…) The often introspective mood is beautifully captured through excellent recorded sound and Suwa's subtle guitar playing which is as before, both refined and expressive. (…) Suwa’s carefully understated approach really suits the opening Renaissance trio of pieces, originally conceived for the vihuela, it sounds every bit as authentic as its played here on the guitar. He choses two Fantasias by Luis de Milán and a Sonetto by Enrique de Valderrábano, which sets the scene for a characteristic piece by Fernando Sor, Introduction et variations sur l’Air: Que ne suis-je la fougère. It is a short and characteristic piece, with 4 variations, which is given an admirably restrained interpretation.
An interlude is provided in an arrangement by Suwa of a poignant piece of piano music by Edvard Grieg, Ensom Vandrer, which leads to the overtly downbeat and reflective Homenaje pour Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy by Manuel de Falla. This is the composer’s only work for guitar and draws on two music fragments which are repeated and only slightly varied, lending the piece an intense atmosphere, which is most effectively realised by Suwa.
In a sense we get to the centre-piece of the album and its concept piece The Riddle of the Guitar as we step into the modern world of the guitar, but with one foot in the past as Lorca draws parallels between the one-eyed Polyphemus (a Greek cyclops) and the instrument, which is most ingeniously realised by the British composer Reginald Smith Brindle. The piece is titled El Prolifemo de Oro Quattro frammenti per chitarra, and set out in four movements. This is probably the best known guitar piece by Brindle who died in 2003, and whilst his idiom contrasts heavily with the other music, it is an amazing piece that deserves its considerable reputation in the avant-garde canon of guitar music. Suwa’s interpretation is one that has been deeply thought out and he gives an outstanding interpretation, which displays considerable virtuosity.
At track 16 we suddenly step out into the Andalusian sunlight with a collection of nine pieces by the Spaniard, Ángel Barrios. There are very few recorded collections of this most interesting composer’s music for guitar, and for this alone the album is worth buying. (…) This collection of character pieces has been very well selected, as Suwa bathes himself in the spirit of flamenco, allowing his technique to illuminate the music which is realised with total spontaneity. I confess to have repeatedly returned to this collection, which perhaps was not the artist's intention, but his playing makes the music so compelling, as he brings to life the vivid sounds of distant Granada. Just try the little gem Flor Granadina or the evocative two part Arroyos de la Alhambra.
The recording itself is to the same high standard of Kazu Suwa’s first album; the guitar sound is never forced and is given a very natural and dynamic perspective, The collection is unusual but it really is most definitely worth getting to know, and with illuminating booklet notes too, including erudite notes on Barrios by the expert, Ismael Ramos."
Ray Picot, The Iberian and Latin American Music Society (London, UK)
"Wide variety of works, ranging from Milán to Brindle, were excellently expressed with the first class interpretation both technically and musically. Finely detailed liner notes in three languages (English, Spanish and Japanese) are very good. This is a recommended disc."
Gendai Guitar Magazine (Tokyo, Japan)
This collection of hidden gems, ranging from Renaissance vihuela works by Milán and Valderrábano, a classical work by Sor, and a guitar transcription of Grieg’s romantic piano piece to avant-garde works by Falla and Brindle and flamenco-style works by Ángel Barrios, symbolises Kazu Suwa’s personal interpretation of Federico García Lorca’s poem ‘Adivinanaza de la guitarra (Riddle of the Guitar)’ as a way to explore the essence of the Spanish guitar.
This extensive selection also traces the ever changing music styles and philosophies behind them throughout Renaissance to 20th century while exhibiting the everlasting quality of the Spanish guitar: its warm, vibrant and sensual sonority and lyricism that keeps capturing listeners’ imagination.
Note: This album includes a very valuable and informative liner notes written by Granada's leading biographer Mr Ismael Ramos for the works of the composer Ángel Barrios. Available in English, Spanish and Japanese.
- Total Playing time:
- CD / Download / Streaming
- Luis de Milán
- Enríquez de Valderrábano
- Fernando Sor
- Edvard Grieg
- Manuel de Falla
- Reginald Smith Brindle
- Ángel Barrios
Luis de Milán:
- Fantasía X
- Fantasía VIII
Enríquez de Valderrábano:
Introduction et variations sur l’Air: Que ne suis-je la fougère! Op. 26:
- Intro. : Andante
- Var. 1
- Var. 2
- Var. 3 : Lento cantabile
- Var. 4 : Andante Allegro
- Ensom vandrer (Solitary traveler) from Lyric pieces Book 3, Op. 43, No. 2 Arranged by Kazu Suwa
Manuel de Falla:
- Homenaje pour Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy
Reginald Smith Brindle:
El Polifemo de Oro, Quattro frammenti per chitarra
- No 1 : Ben Adagio
- No 2 : Allegretto
- No 3 : Largo
- No 4 : Ritmico e Vivo
- Flor Granadina Cristinilla
- De Cádiz a La Habana
- Viejo romance
- Jardín granadino
- Rosario de la aurora
- Arroyos de la Alhambra: Evocación
- Arroyos de la Alhambra: Tonadilla