Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto

Villa-Lobos’s Guitar concerto maybe classified as modern (written in 1951) but it has a strong impressionistic flavour, with echoes of Spain constantly recurring.

James Grace played with flair, and handles his guitar comfortably. I never liked amplification, but I guess without it, the orchestra would drown the guitar. (and in any event, Villa-Lobos prescribed it).

The second movement was more lyrical and Grace’s fingerwork was accurate and well controlled. In the final movement Villa-Lobos composed in a manner to show off the soloist’s, skill and Grace did not disappoint. He played with great sensitivity in an extended solo part. Hughes’s conducting ensured a happy balance between soloist and orchestra.

KWANA Newspaper, 2007
Eclectic, Exciting Evening

James Grace made a welcome return to Durban, and performed Rodrigo’s hauntingly beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez. This showcased Grace’s remarkable talent on classical guitar, in a combination of melodies and rhythms which vividly evoke Spain. Grace’s performance was mesmerising. He is truly a master exponent of the classical guitar. What a memorable evening.

KWANA Newspaper, 2009

Written by : Bryn Hunter

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