Música Latina – Adelaide International Guitar Festival 2010

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed Saturday 27th November 2010

Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: one performance only
Duration: 2hrs 20mins (incl interval)
Festival Bookings: BASS 131 241 or

Once again, this was a double bill, with Manuel Barrueco for the first half and Yamandú Costa after the interval. These ‘two for the price of one’ concerts, with related but contrasting performances, were a great idea and definitely proved very popular with patrons.

Barrueco gave a concert that covered a great range of styles and moods, from Spain to Argentina, opening with Sonata, by José Ardévol, moving to Astor Piazzolla’s Cinco Piezas, Francisco Tárrega’s Capricho Árabe and ending with two pieces by Joaquín Malats, Serenata Andaluza and Serenata Española, transposed for guitar by Tárrega.

Barrueco’s mastery of the instrument, his technique and interpretations of the music, were impeccable. He has toured the world, produced numerous recordings and received critical acclaim everywhere, for good reason. There is great excitement in his playing, an intensity that keeps you on the edge of your seat. He becomes absorbed in his playing, the audience being captivated by the way he, his guitar and the music fuse into one. Let’s hope that he returns soon.

One of the great successes of Slava Grigoryan’s approach to this Festival is that it has brought huge numbers of people to concerts that have, obviously, not been to anything like this before. Those who regularly attend concerts of ‘classical’ music know that applause is withheld until the end of a work, not given at the end of every movement. Barrueco was caught a little unawares when, at the end of the first movement of his first piece, thunderous applause rang out, and the same happened after every movement from there on. Grigoryan is clearly responsible for introducing huge numbers of people to a type of music with which they had previously been unfamiliar and yet clearly enjoyed. He should be justly proud.

Yamandú Costa’s set was a complete contrast, his concert being based in the Choro, the music of Brazil. He is a virtuoso of both the seven string guitar and the music. In his first number he whistled and sang an accompaniment to the softer, slower passages of his playing, completely different to other passages, with strong bass runs, incredibly fast finger work and a huge dynamic range. Had I not seen him perform before earlier in the Festival, one might have been left wondering what on earth he possibly could do after that that would be different. Surely he had exhausted his full range of skills? No! He had barely begun.

After vast applause he went on to one number after another, with only enough time between them to change the tuning on his guitar. Each showed new skills, greater virtuosity and, noticeable, a great love of playing. The audience could not get enough and the final applause went on and on. This no doubt happens whenever he plays. He was prepared.

As a surprise bonus, when pressed for encores Costa brought Doug de Vries onstage for some duets. That was a dangerous move because the audience was so excited at the way the two inspired each other that they then wanted even more music from them. It was hard to tell whether it was the musicians or the audience who were the most reluctant to stop. I suspect that he will invited back again soon. This was another terrific end to a great day at the Festival.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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