1996-1998 & 2005
The magic and mystery of Mexico make a welcome return on this recording, as the expert skills of Gérard Abiton explore Manuel Ponce's complete works for guitar. There is a wealth of treasures to be enjoyed here, as Ponce's vast career led him to explore a number of different styles. His time in Paris exerted a French influence on his music, heard in the wonderfully lyrical song-without-words motif in the second movement of his Sonata III. The folklike passage that follows it, alongside a daring counter-melody, are brought together in a joyous conclusion in the Sonata's last movement, cleverly evoking a popular theme. But it is in the Tres Canciones populares mexicanas that the listener is musically transported to Central America, and Ponce's beloved homeland. The composer's tender nature is beautifully expressed in these three lyrical works, as, along with the Scherzino mexicano, he strives to create a testament to his Mexican roots.
Gérard Abiton, an 'exceptional and talented' French guitarist (Guitare Classique), is a magnificent performer of Ponce's works. His elegant rendition succeeds in convincingly expressing the composer's tender emotion, paying homage to Ponce's diverse influences and never straying far from his cherished Mexican origins. Described as 'one of the best guitarists in the world' (Liberation) and a 'leading light in the profession' (Le pays), Abiton's understanding of Ponce has led him to be regularly invited to play his works in Mexico. Joined by harpsichordist Beatrice Martin, whose assured touch is the perfect accompaniment to the Concierto del Sur and Sonata for guitar and harpsichord, as well as Jean Thorel's professional conducting, this CD is sure to delight fans of guitar music looking to relax and unwind.
- The complete guitar works by Manuel Ponce! Also included are the Sonata for Guitar and Harpsichord, and the Concierto del Sur.
- Manuel Ponce was one of Mexico's best and most popular composers. In his formative years he traveled to Europe, sniffing the air of Paris in the 1920's (the experimental Groupe des six, of Poulenc, Milhaud and Honegger) and Germany, before settling in his home country again. His compositions are imbued with the native music and folklore of his beloved Mexico, irresistably lively, sensual and passionate.
- Excellent performances by Gérard Abiton, one of France's most famous guitarists: "one of the best guitarists in the world" (Liberation), "exceptionally talented" (Guitare classique).
- Contains notes on the composer and the works.
- Contains biographies on each of the artists.