Santiago de Murcia - William Carter - The Scotsman

The performance of guitar music from the Baroque has never been an exact science. As an instrument that enjoyed equal standing in both folk and art music, and whose performers straddled the same conflicting worlds, the tendency was to hand the music down by practical example rather than the printed sheet. The greatest evidence of that came from 17th-century Spain.

William Carter, the American-born guitarist and a member of the excellent Palladian Ensemble, has done more than most to explore the truth behind Baroque performance practice on the Baroque guitar. And this disc, with its flamboyant cocktail of Passacalles, Canarios and Zarambeques, is yet another highly enjoyable example.

The music focuses on one of the few Spanish Baroque composers who wrote his music down - Santiago de Murcia. It is high-art music, with transcriptions of Corelli violin sonatas using the same borrowing technique Bach displayed when he transcribed Vivaldi concertos for the organ.

This whole disc is an effusion of passion, flavoured with Mediterranean sunshine. From the frothy Folias Espanolas to a bagpipe-inspired Gaitas, you could be in no other part of the world.

The Scotsman
11 May 2007