Only once in a great while does a classical guitar CD come along which is so impeccable in very aspect of professionalism -heart-touching musical artistry, interesting repertoire, and excellent technical production. Paraguayan Guitarist Berta Rojas' Cielo Abierto is one of these.
A beautifully consistent and expressive tremolo effortlessly projects the meaning in Barrios' "El Ultimo Canto" (also Known as Una Limosna por el amor de Dios), and the liner notes for this piece, and all the others as well, complete the experience with a balance of historical information and occasional stories in a very well-written and legible format. The notes leave the reader wanting to investigate the composers further, many of whom are not yet household names in the guitar world, as well as their other recordings.
Particularly notable tracks are Korean Byeong Woo Lee's "Mother" played with an exceptional sense of space, time and tone contrasted to his "Run I" , which energetically uses both hands in a brilliant display of powerful music-making. In Rojas' hands, Alberto Rojo's "Si no me Toca el Corazón" will no doubt touch the hearts of everyone who hears it, as it did hers when it was composed for her. A very gentle Sergio Assad arrangement of Piazzolla's "Invierno Porteño" concludes an album clearly made with great care and love.
With Rojas' attention to detail, her interest in transcription, her interest in transcription, her technical ease and artistic soul focused on achieving the best possible musical effect, it is easy to understand the connection between her and esteemed guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima, with whom she is touring and completing a recording project. The thrush of "Cielo Abierto" seems to be Roja's heartfelt message: "Under the open sky we are all united, who love the infinite possibilities of music". One can only hope this is heard the world over by people who might come to see the arts as one of the main ways we can build bridges between diverse cultures, focusing on the many things humanity has in common.