Pablo Sáinz Villegas ‘The Blue Album’ Review

The modern master of the classical guitar issues a superb album of deeply expressive compositions taken from both the traditional and contemporary repertoires.

The 47 year old Spanish guitarist is much in the news these days, being hailed in several quarters as the 21st century’s answer to Andrés Segovia, who was cherished by audiences worldwide for his expressive performances and an extraordinary tonal palette on his instrument. Suffice to say that Pablo Sáinz Villegas meets those criteria and more. His new release, The Blue Album, demonstrates he is more than a worthy successor to Segovia. By coincidence, both masters chose to play guitars made by the famous German luthier, HermannHauser.

The record has a brighter sound than Segovia’s famous dark bravura, but is equally expressive, particularly in the way Pablo has of bringing new life into well-known pieces such the opening Gymnopédie No. 1, a composition by Erik Satie from the early twentieth century. His phrasing is exquisite, the tone deep and liquid. The album continues in a similar, highly emotional vein that renders virtuosity irrelevant. Pablo simply feels deeply when he plays, an approach that was highly prized by both Segovia and another 20th century master, Julian Bream.

Composers such as Couperin, Weiss, Debussy and Scarlatti are well represented here, as are Fernando Sor and Leo Brouwer, all names well-known to students and lovers of the classical guitar. Pleasant surprises abound, though, with the inclusion of Orphée’s Bedroom by Philip Glass and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

In short, this is an album to treasure, to be savored again and again by music fans from every walk of life.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Vivascene, which he founded in 2010. A former record store owner, business executive and business writer, he is devoted to vinyl records, classical guitar, and b&w photography.

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