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Francisco Guerrero - Chamber Music

Grup Instrumental de València/Joan Cerveró

Anemos - C33001 [recorded 2007]

Once heard, the music of Francisco Guerrero (1951-97), "the totemic figure for contemporary music in Spain", is unforgettable. It is underpinned by a powerful intellect , but can be enjoyed (if you have the right ears) without knowing anything about fractal geometry, which underpinned his working methods.

It is all powerful music and immediate in its impact; the experience lodges in the memory. His Zayin (Arditti Quartet) is one of my favourite CDs and a disc of Francisco Guerrero's orchestral music proved equally exciting.

Now we have a varied collection of his chamber music, like no one elses. The six pieces on this disc also feature the sopranos Jurado and Squarcia in a bitter distortion of the Spanish of a revered poet. The sequence reflects the full range of Guerrero’s chamber music output (1976-94) and its proximity to the world of electro-acoustic music.

My first reaction, listening shortly after a Varese weekend in London, was that Guerrero is the Varèse of the late 20th C., and the writer of the excellent notes, well translated, mentions that link quickly.

Undervalued in his own country, Guerrero is beginning to become known in advanced music circles abroad and this lovingly prepared disc, in association with those reviewed and linked above, should advance his cause.

The production is quite unusual, in a hard-back book which is a veritable collectors' piece, no trouble or expense spared. The texts are good to read, black on white, with illustrations reflecting the composer's mathematical preoccupations and photos of the participants, and the artwork is uncommonly striking.

Peter Grahame Woolf