It’s heartening to see Australia producing players of the calibre of Sydney guitarist Andrew Blanch. This debut album features works by guitarist-composers such as Francisco Tárrega and Miguel Llobet; non-guitar-playing composers like Manuel de Falla and Joaquín Turina who wrote for the instrument; and composers such as Isaac Albéniz and Domenico Scarlatti, who never wrote for the guitar but whose music so evokes its sounds that arrangements and transcriptions abound.
Typical of Blanch’s approach is his performance of Albéniz’s Sevilla. Absent is the impassioned lyricism one associates with Spanish players such as Segovia or Romero; what we have instead is an attention to articulating every detail within the context of the whole. Combined with a generous tonal palette and nuanced phrasing, the result is a profound and mature expressivity.Yes, this is a classic ‘calling card’ recording mostly comprising safe, familiar repertoire (the Castelnuovo-Tedesco will perhaps be less familiar to casual listeners). But that’s the idea: how better to measure Blanch’s unique gifts than by comparing them with other guitarists playing the same works?
Impeccably produced by Timothy Kain, this disc secures this young musician’s place amongst a glittering Australian classical guitar constellation. We look forward to hearing more.