Recordings Solo Orchestra
Cielo Abierto
[ CD Album ]

The performance Paraguayan guitarist Berta Rojas gives on this enterprising, very entertaining new release is stop-class from beginning to end. Her phenomenal, seemingly effortless technical ability allows her the luxury of presenting some very difficult works with finesse and beauty.

She plays with impeccable taste and an innate musicianship, enabling the poetic side of each, well thought-out phrase to shine in the most graceful manner, which, in the gentler manner, which, in the gentler compositions verges on sensuality.

Opening the programme with the final composition the Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios wrote for the instrument, El Ultimo Canto, Rojas demonstrates her enviable tremolo technique in the performance witch ranks alongside the best recordings of this exquisite piece. She closes the disc with a masterly interpretation of the sorrowful Astor Piazzolla work Invierno Porteño, here superbly arranged by Sergio Assad.

In between these two celebrated pieces are eleven seldom-heard compositions all of which are deserving of more exposure. Who could fall to be "moved" by Byeong Woo Lee's stunningly gorgeous guitar work Mother, or thriller by the same composer´s frantic Run I, a piece which explores the more aggressive side of the guitar and tries to convey the effect of a badminton racket hitting the shuttlecock!

Alberto Rojo's name may not be too familiar to many readers, but the two highly lyrical compositions of his in this programme, Parita and Si No Me Toca el Corazón are typical of his compositional style and both are given fine readings.

Without going into detailed description of every piece, suffice it to say that there are no low points whatsoever in this programme: excitement and thrills are counterbalanced by slower works of beauty. This is a fascinating disc, impeccably and inventively performed and one which all lovers of guitar music should own.

Throughout, Rojas gives utterly credible and masterly performances in a programme where every item is a jewel.

The recording quality is superb and the packaging of the disc is of a very high standard. The CD comes with a 16-page, highly informative booklet detailing each composer and the performer.

Highly recommended.

Steve Marsh
[ England ]