Leo Brouwer is one of the leading voices in modern Cuban guitar music. This is an early Cuban LP, with Brouwer playing – I guess it´s from the late 60s or early 70s (if you know better, please correct) – and before a tendon injury stopped his playing career.
The beautiful folk and dance rhythms draw me to much of the guitar music of Latin America, but it can often stray into sentimental territory. That´s the last thing you could say about the music on this LP. In Brouwer´s own ‘Elegy of the Dance’, the drumming of the fingers on the instrument is not just a dance rhythm, but is also the sound of a farmer drilling seeds in the field, and echoes many of the themes in Villa-Lobos´s first prelude for guitar. It is an understated, but concentrated and intense piece of music that rewards repeated listening.
Leo Brouwer – Guitarra (Areito LD-4189)
Carlos Fariñas – Prelúdio
José Ardévol – Sonata para Guitarra
Manuel Ponce – Sonatina Meridional
Leo Brouwer – Elogio de la Danza
Heitor Villa-Lobos – Estudio no. 7
For Cuban vinyl of this age, it sounds remarkably good, but I´m putting this up in 320 kbps mp3. Naxos have been doing a very good job in making this and other modern guitar work more available – here is a good place to jump in, and I´d recommend any of the Brouwer series.
By the way, there is a fantastic resource online - the blog of Fabio Zanon, containing an archive of his radio programmes documenting the history of Brazilan guitar. I can’t think of a better way to get to know much of this music. Fabio Zanon is also an exceptionally talented guitarist, whose recordings and performances are strongly recommended!