<< -- 3 -- Robert Hugill AN IDEAL SHOWCASE
The Preludes date from 1940, when Villa-Lobos was busy founding choral societies and a conservatory of music in Brazil. Originally he wrote six, but only five preludes survive. Prelude No 1 again revisits the waltz
[listen -- track 1, 0:00-0:58],
but with a livelier middle section. Prelude No 2 is rather like a rag
[listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:59],
but with a fascinating tune where the emphasis is on the leading note. This contrasts rather effectively with a middle section in a Spanish, strumming manner. Prelude No 3 opens with slow arpeggiated figures but rather than making these the prelude to something else, the composer encourages us to just enjoy the textures for their own sake. Prelude No 4 is based on a romantic theme, restated in various ways including some stunning harmonics. The final Prelude, No 5, is a return to the café waltz.
Bacon plays all the pieces with a rather understated, unshowy technique, where the music is always of prime importance. The guitar is recorded naturalistically, if a little closely; this is not a disc for those who dislike hearing noise of the guitarist's left hand sliding up the strings.
The disc is rather short measure for a CD, it is a pity that the publishers could not have found another source for some more of Villa-Lobos' guitar music, particularly the Etudes. But for those who have not yet explored this lovely, under-rated repertoire, then this disc makes a fine starting point.