Dazzling guitarist evokes Mediterranean warmth
There was a definite Latin flavour to Friday’s opening concerts of Windsor Symphony’s Intimate Classics series at Assumption Chapel.
Montreal-based guitarist Daniel Bolshoy dazzled a full house Friday morning with a pair of concertos — the famous Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and an adapted mandolin concerto by Antonio Vivaldi.
Two other works inspired dreams of sunny locales in Spain and Italy — the rarely performed Symphony in D by Juan Crisostomo Arriaga and Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 11 by Arcangelo Corelli.
The concert will be repeated tonight at Leamington United Mennonite Church, and Sunday at St. Anne’s Church in Tecumseh. Both concerts are at 7:30 p.m.
Bolshoy plays with warmth and remarkable dexterity. He is also a talented commentator, as he demonstrated in a brief description of the origins of the Rodrigo work.
The Rodrigo dates from just before the Second World War while the composer was living in Paris. He looked back longingly to the Spain of his youth in the piece, which describes the gardens in the royal residence at Aranjuez.
Bolshoy evoked the colour and even the scents of the work. When he isn’t touring or doing concerts for the CBC, Bolshoy teaches guitar performance at Montreal’s Concordia University.
In response to a third curtain call Friday morning, Bolshoy performed an encore — a solo guitar piece titled Campanas del alba by Eduardo Sainz de la Maza.
The program offered a little of the familiar and some of the new. The Vivaldi concerto, adapted for Spanish guitar from mandolin, is famous as the music of a TV commercial for Gallo Wines. Bolshoy’s gorgeous rendering of the work’s second movement, the Largo, was the artistic high point of the concert.
Conductor John Morris Russell introduced the audience to the rarely performed, early19th century Spanish composer, Juan Crisostomo Arriaga.
Sometimes referred to as “the Spanish Mozart,” Arriaga died 10 days before his 20th birthday in 1826. He left some highly prized string quartets and a single symphony.
The Symphony in D is a lovely and charming piece, with lush harmonies and a beautiful Andante and Minuet.
The concert opened with Corelli’s early-18th century baroque work, Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 11, a five-movement composition of dance rhythms.