by Mike Telin
Following Colin Davin’s May 2013 performance at the Cleveland International Classical Guitar Festival, ClevelandClassical.com wrote: “Davin is in his twenties, and it is rare to have such a young guitarist achieve the level of sophistication and refinement that was on display throughout his distinguished program.” On Sunday, June 5 in Mixon Hall, Davin, who performed the entire recital from memory, brought the 2016 Festival to a marvelous conclusion with a performance that again displayed the guitarist’s brilliant technique and musical elegance.
Davin’s thoughtful program highlighting Spanish guitar music was inspired by the diverse geographic regions of the country. Music from Andalusia, Burgos, Catalonia, and Galicia was represented, as well as works that were influenced by the French impressionists. Although the stylistic differences were at times subtle, as a whole, there was sufficient variety to make the program thoroughly enjoyable.
After a soulful rendition of Francisco Tárrega’s Prelude No. 2 in a, which opened the program, Davin launched into Joaquín Turina’s two-movement, flamenco-inspired Hommage à Tárrega, Op. 69. The guitarist brought power to the opening “Garrotin,” and easily tossed off the intricate gypsy scale passages of “Soleares.”
The only work on the program not composed by a Spaniard was little-known Swiss composer Hans Haug’s Three Pieces. Full of late-Romantic/early-modern sensibilities, much like the music of Reger, the episodic work beautifully captures the influence that Spanish music had on the composer. Davin’s performance was splendid, especially during the fiery, fast-paced passages of the concluding “Toccatta.”
Davin’s interpretation of Federico Mompou’s Suite Compostelana was sublime. The work is a beautiful musical narrative of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and during the five movements Davin brought out the composer’s intimate, almost minimalistic writing with élan. Playing with a full bodied sound, Davin made the “Recitativo” appropriately playful. He skillfully imitated the drone of bagpipes during the Galician folk dance “Muiñeria,” celebrating the arrival of the pilgrims at their destination.
The second half opened with another work by Francisco Tárrega, this time the short and sweet Prelude No. 5 in E, followed by an introspective account of Manuel de Falla’s Homenaje “Le Tombeau de Debussy.” The next stop on the journey through Spain was the Burgos region. First came Federico Moreno Torroba’s brief but captivating Burgalesa (a song from Burgos).
Then the mood of the program shifted from the folksy to the semi-impressionistic with Burgos-native Antonio José’s prodigious Sonata for Guitar from 1933. José gives the performer plenty of challenges during his four-movement work, and Davin conquered them all. He tossed off the tricky passages of the “Allegro moderato” like child’s play, and he brought a refined swagger to the “Minuetto” and a sadness to the “Pavana triste.” The percussive chords of the “Final” were explosive.
The audience responded with an enthusiastic ovation, and not wanting to disappoint, Colin Davin provided a musical bonbon in the form of a Catalan folk song.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com June 28, 2016.
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