When this disc arrived at my doorstep and I read the label "Reference Recordings" on the package, I became very excited. Was it another sonic spectacular from Kansas City? What was in store? The last thing I expected was a guitar recital, and it's simply wonderful. The Segovia Archive complied pieces found at the late, great guitarist's estate in 2001. Young Roberto Moronn Pérez has launched an ambitious project to capture these pieces on disc. Fresh! is part of Reference Recordings initiative to work with young artists, and everything that could go right, does.
As always, the sound is spectacular. Unlike recent guitar albums from the so-called "major labels", the guitar sound isn't in your face. It's warm, naturally full, and atmospheric. The notes literally float out of your speakers. And this isn't all easy listening or simply for relaxation. This is exciting new repertoire that every guitar lover should be excited about. Reference Recordings gets full marks for bringing it to us with such realism and such an outstanding young artist.
The music is simply magnificent. Either written for or commissioned by Segovia himself, each piece reflects an absolute mastery of the instrument. Furthermore, it handedly confirms the greatness of the Spanish guitar tradition, one which is often taken for granted. Perez is a fine, fine player who hand-picked these pieces himself, either because they were so rare or had limited visibility. His shadings are loving, his phrasings delicate yet also brimming with intensity when they need to. And while he's expertly milked, there are no irritating finger sounds or heavy breaths to take away from an exceptional listening experience.
According to the press release, there were composers from seven other countries outside of Spain who wrote music for Segovia, and whose works were found at his home around the same time. Could this mean more great music from the label featuring Pérez? One can only hope. For a label which blew away critics with audiophile blockbusters year after year, this thought-provoking, expertly played tribute to a great artist is both touching and unexpected. Wholeheartedly recommended.
Copyright © 2013, Brian Wigman