Classical guitar virtuoso Ana Vidović plays passionately before are dwelling audiences, but feels uninspired taking part in in an empty recording studio. Hence, she’s launched few studio albums. Whereas videos and clips of her onstage performances abound online, the sound quality is hit or coast over. Her novel commence, Live at Hampden Hall, addresses each factors. Issued on the audiophile tag Octave Records, the two-CD album captures Vidović in a spectacular efficiency in Englewood, Colorado, with Octave’s Pure DSD 256 course of. The warm, excessive-definition sound areas listeners staunch at Vidović’s feet. There was no editing, no alternate takes; the total lot is as played at that concert.
As her program confirms, Vidović shines in Baroque music—seriously in works by J.S. Bach. Disc one opens with Bach’s Cello Suite in G Notable, BWV 1007 (played right here in D main). Vidović settles in with considerate, relaxed readings of the Prelude and Allemande before upping the power for the spritely Courante in 3/4 time. She flows into the stately Sarabonde, caressing its honest melodic contours and adding crisp trills at key areas. Of the two Menuets, the 2d, within the parallel minor key, waltzes more delicately than the first. She takes the concluding Gigue at a happy, loping hunch, without problems facing its double-discontinue passages and brisk scalar bursts.
Vidović continues with Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 1, BWV 1001. Many guitarists transpose this suite in A minor, but Vidović plays a transcription within the present key of G minor. Whereas this tonality can also merely also be tough on guitar, Vidović shows no indicators of battle. She shapes the flowing lines of the opening Adagio with give and snatch within the tempo and varied timbres.
Vidović capably leads the repeated-present Fuga theme on its coast to various tonal centers in appearances on the better moreover to diminish strings. Her tempo is on the up facet of moderate, and the momentum by no device flags—despite a passage’s thorniness. She underscores the pastoral sweetness of the Siciliana with dynamics that alternately duck in and out of the shadows at cadences. The Presto is pure pleasure, taken at a loyal clip. She maintains the power to the discontinue, repeatedly particular-footed, seriously when Bach alternates the phrasing of the melody from groups of three 16th notes to 2.
Disc one closes with Mauro Giuliani’s Gran Sonata Eroica, Op. 150, a showcase for Vidović’s technical precision, regulate, and musical creativeness. She flies through scalar runs and linear arpeggios with aptitude. Yet, bravura doesn’t overtake musicality in this eight-minute romp as she slows to revel within the poignant moments.
The towering La Catedral by composer Agustín Barrios Mangoré opens the 2d disc. Vidović imbues its first two unhurried actions with luminosity before launching into the athletic Allegro Solemne. The three-minute workout in arpeggios and scales traverses the total the fretboard, and Vidović plays it with vigor.
Vidović goes motivate to Baroque for four sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. K 213 in D minor gets an introspective reading before the more fugal K 1 in D minor picks up the tempo. Vidović maintains the power stage throughout the evergreen K 322 in A first-rate and K 380 in E main, ornamenting with aesthetic putrid-string trills.
Revisiting the classical know-how, the penultimate share is Giuliani’s Grande Overture Op. 61. Taking an ambitious tempo, Vidović totally owns this barn-burner, ripping through its various arpeggiated sections and blazing broken-octave passages, but moreover renders its alternately noble and prankish passages sensitively.
The album finishes with Fernando Sor’s Intro and Diversifications on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9. The guitarist is in her wheelhouse on this perennial current, and executes Sor’s scales, arpeggios, and double-stops with famous finesse. After she strums the two aloof, final chords, the viewers erupts with prolonged applause and whoops of approval.
At instances on the recording, Vidović plays staunch as much as the fringe of her ambitious abilities, yet by no device falters. Kudos go to recording and mix engineer Paul McGowan, govt producer Jessica Carson, and assistant Terri McGowan for documenting this impeccable recital, which validates Vidović’s utter within the tip tier of her generation’s virtuosic performers.
This article originally regarded within the March/April 2024 whisper of Acoustic Guitar journal.