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Angel Romero - "Vivaldi Concertos"

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

[Angel plays Vivaldi]

Album: Angel Romero - Vivaldi Concertos
Label: RCA Victor - Red Seal - 09026-68291-2
Medium: CD
Released: 1995
Genre: Classical, Baroque
Reviewer: Scott Faller
Date Reviewed: May, 2001

Trivial Bits

There is something about Baroque music that I really enjoy. I can't quite put my finger on it, maybe it's the intensity. Each member of the orchestra with a very specific purpose, short quick bursts of music, almost making each instrument and musician a soloist. This type of music gives you the sense of extreme discipline. Yet, the complex rhythmical interplay between the musicians lures the listener deep into the music. I find it very involving and enjoyable.

Since we are reviewing Angel Romero, arguably the finest guitarist alive, lets talk about the guitar a bit.

The guitar dates back to the middle ages. At the time, the guitar was considered an instrument for amateurs. Primarily a folk instrument, it had many variations through the ages. Early, the lute was a pear shaped, stringed instrument. In the sixteenth century, a uniquely Spanish lute was being made. The vihuela da mano had a more contemporary guitar shaped body. This has since evolved into the guitar we know today.

Several decades after Vivaldi's death in 1741 in Vienna, Fernado Sor (1778-1839) helped to bring the modern version of this six string instrument to the forefront. He devoted his talents as a composer, teacher and virtuoso performer to show the artistic qualities and musical range of the guitar. In more modern times, Francisco Eixea Tarregga (1854-1909) founded the contemporary guitar school which brought this instrument further recognition.

Though Vivaldi never wrote a concerto for the guitar, many composers, performers and conductors have written their interpretations of traditional arrangements for this solo instrument. Actually, this practice dates as far back as Johann Sebastian Bach.

[los Romeros]
"the royal family of the guitar"

If you are unfamiliar with Angel Romero, he is the youngest of the internationally famous Romero family. Celedonio and his three sons, Celin, Pepe and Angel have been touring since 1961. This "Royal Family of the Guitar" has been thrilling audiences worldwide with their mastery of the guitar, classical and Flamenco. Sadly, Celedonio died in 1996 but his heirs live on. In fact the Romero's have added Angel's son Lito and Celin's son Celino, as part of the touring group. Celino replaced Angel in 1990 when Angel left he group to pursue a solo career.

Enough Already, Get to the Point

Vivaldi Concertos is a fabulous piece of work musically. Angel Romero shows, in no uncertain terms, that he is the true master of the guitar. As a really nice touch, on RV 532, Lito, Angel's son, joins in with dad and shows his technical prowess with the guitar. The duet is something to experience.

Vivaldi's concerti were usually performed with approximately twenty five strings with the basso continuo played by the harpsichord or organ. Angel has chosen a small string arrangement and the harpsichord for the basso continuo on most of the pieces.

The concerto RV 108 was originally composed for flute, as the solo instrument, with the harpsichord as the basso continuo. Angel has added a bassoon to this arrangement. The bassoon adds a dimension of additional depth to this particular concerto. This piece is very well done.

Technically, the recording of Angel's guitar is a bit thin sounding. The deep resonance of the classical guitar is absent. That being said, I wasn't really sure that my system was telling me the truth so I plugged in my Grado headphones and gave it a listen. Sure enough, my system wasn't lying. As I listen a little closer, the harpsichord is a bit weak also. When I say a bit, I do mean just a bit. I'm not trying to pick at this recording but you should know what I perceive.


Overall, this is a very good interpretation and performance. It's very musical and involving. I listen to it quite often, it's one of my favorite classical CD's. I have to say, I might be a bit bias, I really like the guitar. It's one of my favorite instruments.

Bottom line, if you enjoy Baroque music and guitar virtuoso's such as Angel Romero, you will thoroughly enjoy this CD.

Main System Used

  • Turntable – Systemdek 2x2, Rega RB 250, Expressimo Mods, Rega Elys
  • CD Player – Arcam Alpha 8se, HDCD
  • Pre-Amp – Lazarus Cascade (tubed and hot-rodded)
  • Tri-Amped, Using Spectro Acoustics Equipment
  • - Tweeter Amp – 200sr, 135 wpc @ 8ohm
  • - Mid Range Amp – 202r, 135 wpc @ 8ohm
  • - Woofer Amp – 500r, 250 wpc @ 8 ohm
  • Active Crossover – Sony 4300 (discrete)
  • Speakers, DIY - Tweeter - 30" Carver Ribbons, Mid-Bass - Focal 5K4211, Woofer - Shiva.
  • Interconnects and Cables – Home brew, silver plated copper with teflon insulation

© Copyright 2001 Scott Faller - http://www.tnt-audio.com

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