Pablo Menéndez — “Esencia” (QTV Classics, 2020)

My debut album, “Esencia,” released under QTV Classics in 2020, encapsulates the profound spirit of this timeless instrument. Rooted in the classical works of Sor, Pujol, and Rodrigo, the album is a manifestation of my dedication to preserving the authenticity of the Spanish guitar’s sound—an endeavor deeply ingrained in the rich traditions of this musical art form.

The Essence of Sound: A True Gift for the Ears

My musical journey, shaped by the guidance of eminent mentors such as Socías, Marchione, Duro, and Bernier, has instilled in me the belief that true artistic expression lies not only in performance but also in the meticulous exploration of the historical and stylistic contexts that define each composition. In approaching this repertoire, I embark on a quest for wisdom and freedom, upholding the essence of Spanish guitar with smoothness, clarity, luminosity, and a distinct personality.

Pillars of Authenticity: Careful Production and Classical Interpretation

The foundation of “Esencia” rests upon two pillars: careful production and classical interpretation. A solid and well-studied performance is meaningless without absolute attention to the meaning of the work throughout the entire recording process. From sound recording to mastering, each step is a meticulous endeavor to ensure the soul of the music remains intact.

Furthermore, classical interpretation, when executed with precision, reveals the range delineated by the composer. In navigating Rodrigo’s dynamic nuances, Sor’s subtlety, and Pujol’s demand for transparency, I invite listeners to follow a linear musical discourse that unfolds with pleasure and sophistication.

Exploring Rodrigo’s Timelessness: A Glimpse into Spanish Essence

The album opens with Rodrigo’s “Sonata giocosa” (1960) and “Junto al Generalife” (1959), prompting contemplation on the enduring nature of his compositions. The stillness of the Andante moderato, the “rodriguesque” strumming of the Allegro, and the maestro’s unique language in Lento e cantabile / Allegro beckon reflection. As I perform these works, the listener is transported into the heart of Spanish music—a realm where timelessness is inherent.

Sor’s Andante Religioso: A Historicist Approach to Musical Expression

Transitioning seamlessly, the album introduces Sor’s “Andante religioso” from “Six airs choisis del’opera de Mozart: Il flauto magico.” In this less frequently explored piece from 1824, I pay homage to Mozart’s tragic life. Sor’s expansion of the concept of variation as a musical form, beyond the confines of the concert guitar, showcases my commitment to historicist interpretation. Drawing on my expertise in orchestral and choral conducting, I deliver a magnificent choral performance that spans six movements.

Pujol’s “Tres piezas españolas”: A Celebration of Intense Musical Heritage

Delving into Emilio Pujol’s “Tres piezas españolas” (1926), the focus shifts to the magnificence of phrasing and pulsation. The technical precision showcased in this work, published during a period when Segovia and Llobet were making waves in the Americas, pays tribute to Pujol’s multifaceted career as a performer, musicologist, and composer. The interpretation of “Guajira” serves as a celebration of the concept of “cantes de ida y vuelta,” reflecting the intensity of Pujol’s musical legacy.

Concluding with Sor’s “Fantaisie élégiaque”: A Celebration of Life’s Sublimation

As the album gracefully concludes with Sor’s “Fantaisie élégiaque,” dedicated to the memory of Madame Beslay, I assert that the homage, the tombeau, should not be perceived as a lament but as a celebration of life. In these seventeen minutes filled with expression, I honor Sor’s exceptional legacy, which transcended his own existence and reached across the Atlantic. Together with Dionisio Aguado, we offered our final concert in 1836, the same year I composed my own “Elegiac,” marking the end of an era.

Conclusion

In conclusion, “Esencia” is more than a debut album; it is a testament to authenticity. This offering is tailored for two distinct audiences: scholars engaged in the study, research, and teaching of the Spanish guitar, and the broader music-loving public. For the former, the album serves as a sound model, a manifestation of the Spanish guitar expertly performed by a recognized specialist. For the latter, it promises a timeless experience—an immersion into the authentic sound of Spanish music, meticulously crafted and delivered by a dedicated artist.

In this exploration of “Esencia,” I invite both connoisseurs and enthusiasts to embark on a journey through the rich tapestry of Spanish guitar, where each note resonates with the essence of a centuries-old tradition, and every strumming unveils the soul of an authentic Spanish sound.

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