The Art of the Pepe Romero,
The technical skill is ever impressive with Romero who turned 66 on March 8th, just ten days earlier, and a gratuitous showpiece like Tárrega’s Gran Jota with its endless flageolet passages and left hand melodies that are ‘tapped’ out of the soundboard, still come off impressively. But the zest of his early recordings—his first made at the age of 14—has lessened a bit. It makes for exciting and entertaining listening—“Asturias”, “Granada”, “Córdoba” all being ‘clap-along’-ready bits, but its helps to be part of the subculture of Spanish guitar (or classical guitar, which is nearly synonymous, except for the early music guitarists). For the non-initiated, such an evening gets longer and longer toward the end, because most of the pieces have, under the weight of their popularity, turned into pure cliché. Before the mind’s eye, stereotypical “Spanish” scenes from color-saturated Hollywood films merge into one confused and blurry blend.
Turkish, not Spanish, was the declared flavor of the Munich Radio Orchestra’s concert on March 10th, conducted by Naci Özgüç.The over-caffeinated announcer, German-Turkish actress Renan Pemikran who pronounces the word “Deutsch” with an excitement no German has felt comfortable to do in over 60 years, led through the concert with charming, spitfire hyperbole, grand gestures, and a touch of self-importance. After the competent-routine performance of Beethoven, the “Capriccio à la turque” by Ferit Tüzün (1929-1977) was performed. The composer studied in Munich and had his Capriccio premiered by the Munich Philharmonic. The origins as a ballet piece shine through, as does a jazzy undercurrent and a Stravinskyesque orchestral treatment. Wild, fun, and nothing that scares the children.
Ahmed A. Saygun, String Quartets,
Still, it got overshadowed by the fire-cracker Suite for Orchestra “Köçekce”. Played with enthusiasm, it’s about the “dancers” in harems—highly paid, respected, and sought-out musicians, entertainers, and presumably lust-boy equivalents of the concubines. The work is a wild ride full of virtuosic use of the “cils”, little hand-cymbals the Köçekler used. If you hear it you will agree that Khachaturian has nothing on Erkin!