We have admired the music of the excellent Spanish Renaissance composer Luys de Narváez at Ionarts before. This recent release is a charming introduction to his music, a survey of about one-third of the sixty-some tablatures in the composer's collection Los Seys Libros del Delphin de musica de cifra para tañer vihuela, published in the 1530s. Playing on a modern guitar, Pablo Márquez has arranged his selection according to modal groupings, prefacing each group with Narváez's fantasia in that mode. (In his review for the New York Times, Allan Kozinn briefly compares this disc to Hopkinson Smith's earlier recording on vihuela.) The composer printed those eight fantasias at the opening of the collection, as an introduction to a body of motifs associated with each mode. This provided a didactic model for young vihuelists to learn how to improvise an intonation to a piece in a given mode. One may not be aware that the mode is gradually rising as the tracks go by: in fact, the accommodations required on the modern guitar obscure the key relationships somewhat. Still, the melodic survey inherent in the selection adds to the beauty of this pretty recording.
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Luys de Narváez, Los Seys Libros del Delphin (excerpts), Pablo Márquez (August 7, 2007)
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