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"Beautiful"
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Santiago de Murcia - William Carter - Early Music Review


01 June 2007
Early Music Review
Stewart McCoy

Little is know about the life of Santiago de Murcia (1685 - 1732). He was probably born in Madrid, and it is likely that he emigrated to the New World, possibly after the death of Queen Maria Luisa in 1714, whom he taught the guitar, and to whom his Resumen was dedicated. Some of the extant sources oh his music were found in Mexico, and some more music was recently discovered in Chile. His music ranges from simple dance tunes to complex variations requiring considerable dexterity. A Proporcion (track 4) ends with a wonderful succession of notes cascading down the fingerboard at amazing speed. The CD begins with lively strummed variations on Folias Españolas, and ends with a gently Gaitas, very much in a simple folk song idiom.

Not all the music on the CD is by Santiago de Murcia. Carter plays a suite of his based on the music of Gaspar Sanz, accompanied by Susanne Heinrich on plucked gamba; it includes variations on the ubiquitous Canarios, an idea that developed from Heinrich busking along a bass line during concerts with the Palladian Ensemble. The baroque guitar is weak in the bass department, since both strings of the fifth course (and sometimes the fourth course too), are generally tuned an octave higher, leaving the fourth (or the third) course sounding the lowest notes. Heinrich's discreetly plucked bass viol is also added to an intabulation of music from Corelli's Violin Sonata Op.5, No.3. The effect is very satisfying.


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