Review: Artist gives audience a lesson and a treat

Artist gives audience a lesson and a treat

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |
February 16, 2012

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Without fanfare, the guitar department in the Indiana University Jacobs School offers a continuing series of concerts by visiting artists. They don’t come often, but when they do, those chosen always turn out to be top drawer and bring enrichment to Bloomington’s music scene.

That was certainly true once again on Tuesday evening in Auer Hall when Adam Holzman and guitar came a-calling. The American-born Holzman has a number of international competition prizes to his credit. He maintains an active and critically acclaimed concert career, this while he serves as Regents Professor in Music at the University of Texas in Austin, where he founded the guitar department some 20 years ago.

Tuesday, he gave the audience in Auer a lesson and a treat. His playing proved pristine and elegant; his repertory, wide ranging; his program planning, astute. Pre-intermission, Holzman looked backward, as far back as the late 16th and early 17th century. Post, the focus was on 20th century music from Latin America and Spain. In sum, the bill of fare left satisfaction for content and performance.

Four “far back” items opened the concert: a pair of Fantasies by England’s John Dowland, one by the Spanish Alonso de Mudarra, and a Capriccio by the Italian Pietro Paolo Melli. Together, they wove a comfortably warm tapestry, often embroidered, often also engagingly lyrical. Holzman caressed the weave. Bach’s Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro, BWV 998, was originally scored for lute or keyboard. In recent times, guitarists have taken a shine to this richly endowed score, since — if they’re good enough — it can make them shine. Holzman was surely good enough and did, giving the music clarity, polished phrasing and needed accents.

Another Fantasy, this one spelled Fantasie, completed the first half. The work of Luigi Legnani, a 19th century Italian guitarist/singer/luthier/composer, this flamboyant item reflected Legnani’s background as operatic tenor. He had sung works by Rossini and Donizetti. The Fantasie’s music echoed that from their comedies: light, lively, melodic, ornamented, and challenging. Holzman did it justice.

The 20th century portion of the program began with three short and varied “Piezas” (Pieces) by the Mexican composer/guitarist Jorge Ritter Navarro (born in 1957), one Rapido, another Andante, the third a Jaleo or Spanish dance. Holzman had mastered them and brought forth their ethnic flavors.

That was very much so also with a glorious Sonata by the Spanish master Joaquin Turina, a fetching showcase for guitarists, most assuredly for Holzman, who concluded his recital with the Vals Number 3 and 4 by the Paraguayan guitarist and composer Agustin Pio Barrios, music of sheer poetry but technically tricky, too.


Copyright: 2012

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