- Alfonso Baschiera (Guitar)
Notes & Reviews:
Paganini was, according to those who saw him play, as phenomenally gifted a guitarist as he was a violinist; yet he never played the instrument in public. He composed over a hundred solo works for the guitar, in addition to a series of delightful works for violin with guitar accompaniment
American Record Guide, May/June 2013
I reviewed another complete recording of these works, a Naxos release by Denis Sungho Jansens. He presented this music in an utterly prosaic performance. The works are bit of charm and invention they can be quite enjoyable. I'm happy to say that Baschiera is much better. I can still imagine he does play with greater expression and charm. That makes this recording worthwhile. You won't find neglected masterworks here, but you will find some attractive pieces.
Recording information: Studio Sintesi, Venice (08/10/1990-08/14/1990).
This latest re-issue from Newtown Classics, a collection of guitar compositions/studies by Nicolo Paganini, was originally recorded by guitarist Alfonso Baschiera in 1990.
As with most of their previous re-issues, the sound quality of Newtown’s recordings is first rate, as is their choice of material, which has so far been mainly confined to mostly (though, not exclusively) solo and small ensemble chamber music.
Paganini wrote these 43 ghiribizzi (whims) as studies for the daughter of a friend and they have enjoyed a renewed interest in the past couple of decades with the advent of guitar programs at music schools around the world. The popularity of these pieces among guitar students can be explained, at least in part, by their variety of length and degrees of difficulty, as well as the fact that many of them were written without instructions from the composer regarding tempo (which is why two more recent recordings of them by Adriano Sebastiani and Denis Sungho Janssens differ by nearly 45 seconds in total recording time.)
The guitarist Alfonso Baschiera, recording as he was at the dawn of the compact disc era, may be forgiven for editing some of these pieces to fit the shorter times available to pre-CD recorded media. From a lesser musician, the effect could have been one of clumsy, ruthless abbreviation; in Mr. Baschiera’s more than capable hands Paganini’s music is instead given a thoughtful and caring (albeit, necessary) artistic interpretation.
To the average music listener, the shorter running time of this recording should have little or no effect of their enjoyment of this excellent set of virtuoso performances, while guitar students might well profit by comparing them to the original texts widely available at a variety of free music score sites on the internet.
Once again, an excellent re-issue by Newton Classics, marred only by the company’s continual and inexplicable failure to provide either photos of or biographical information about the performing artist. C’mon people, surely most of the musicians on your label aren’t involved in some kind of Interpol witness protection program!
Recommended 8 ½ out of 10 Oscar O. Veterano
Submitted on 02/08/13 by Oscar O. Veterano
Works DetailsNiccolò Paganini (1782 - 1840) : Ghiribizzi (43) for Guitar, MS 43
- Performer: Alfonso Baschiera (Guitar)
- Notes: Studio Sintesi, Venice (08/10/1990-08/14/1990)
- Running Time: 38 min. 33 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Written: 1819-1820