Aaron Larget-Caplan has selected a covey of snippets that can’t fail to delight any ear.
Isaac Albéniz – Two Pieces
“Zambra Granadina” catches the imagination from the get-go with a compelling variety of textures and tones. Larget-Caplan clearly understands the fine art of when to push or pull—do enjoy the danse orientale.
Boldly stated and presented, Larget-Caplan’s arrangement has just enough drama to balance the more lyrical lines. Tasteful harmonics are the icing on this cake. The convincing finish definitely says “Hola!”
Esteban de Sanlúcar
“Mantilla de Feria”
The introduction features an easygoing lilt then morphs to a song without words—replete with welcome harmonic excursions—takes stage. Larget-Caplan executes all of the technical challenges with deceptive ease.
Francisco Tárreg – Five Pieces
A very familiar entry done up with calm, style and affection.
Short, sweet and riotously invigorating—enjoy the ride!
Thoughtful, overflowing with introspection that can’t fail to spill over to all listeners.
“Recuerdos de la Alhambra”
Much darker and somewhat nervous than all that preceded, the bitter hues finally give way to hope, as it should be.
Just sit back, go with the flow and let your mind relive a few special memories known only to you.
Isaac Albéniz – Granada
Gently engaging with a marvellous variety of touches in the opening. Gradually more romantic/melodic. A pleasure at every turn along with a few happily unexpected excursions.
Pascual Marquina – España Cañi
Still another well-loved miniature to conclude the album. Just the right amount of hesitato by Larger-Caplan used to great effect.
John Cage Guitar
(all pieces arranged by Larger-Caplan)
An intriguing combination of relentless ritornellos with brief punctuation above and below the action.
Three Easy Pieces
Soothingly gentle lines, yet always moving forward. Logical development heightens the aural interest; confidence grows then calms.
A pair of amicable amis easily coexisting.
Ah, counterpoint! A longer, equally intimate excursion would be welcome.
Jolly start—an excellent first move; somewhat jazzy at times. Everything “moves”, including some thoughtful pauses to plan the next one. A strategy gradually evolves—will it work? The irrepressible pawns try to control the action. The queen is safe even with all the hubbub around her.
Appropriately calm, quiet beginning. Certainly a sweet dream that constantly moves forward with ease. Overall effect is soothing and filled with hope. Larget-Caplan content to let the flowing lines and limited punctuation find their own way. Would that all dreams be so restful and positive.
I – A purposely unsteady soundscape led by ideally “breathless” violinist Sharon Leventhal deftly anchored by Larget-Caplan.
II – Somewhat haunting, infused with double stops and a covey of blue notes.
III – Upbeat and fun provide great contrast (most welcome at this juncture).
IV – Impish tunes, the trills adding to the effect along with the harmonics that always hit their mark.
V – A study in registers that never loses its impetus.
VI – In many ways, the most melodic of the lot, with ideal ensemble between the protagonists.
“In a Landscape”
A feeling of Bach in the opening before the theme arrives. Almost conversational between the two lines as they interact and grow. Up to the listener to decide just what is being described; I hear remote, well appointed plot of land, flora and fauna—one that few have actually seen, but now, at least, heard. Larget-Caplan subtly gets to the heart of the matter with aplomb.
Energy to burn contrasted with passages of relief. The hue of the prepared guitar is ideal. A most satisfying conclusion to Cage’s always inventive compositions.
Over the course of 16 tracks (all artfully arranged by Larget-Caplan) this J. S. Bach recital will reward multiple hearings.
The following components add much to the artistry:
- Voicing that keeps the ear engaged
- Fugues carefully thought out and rendered
- Sequences “roll” appropriately, never obtrusively
- Old friends (Prelude No. 1 in C Major) share the stage with relatively new (God’s Time Is the Very Best Time)
- Bass lines frequently lead the fray
- Wonderfully conversational, when required
- Pedals that deftly anchor all around them
- Compellingly rhapsodic on occasion
- A wide spectrum of emotion just as the master intended
- First-rate harmonic leading.
It’s a fine achievement from many points of view.