“Cool hands ring true?
Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead.
Geoff Cowart, Maidenhead Express
4/03/05
****

MEXICAN guitarist and Royal College of Music Junior Fellow Morgan Szymanski, made a welcome return to Norden Farm last Thursday.

Settling into his chair on the bare stage, the 25-year-old Morgan said: “It’s not everyday I get to say ‘Good Morning’ to an audience?.

Suitable to the tranquil mood, he laid into composer Alec Roth’s meditative piece, The Unicorn in the Garden, a fluffy yet technically demanding tune.

It was followed by the more serious, classically-based Sonata by Manuel Ponce, allowing Morgan to display his fine understanding of the complex music, gauging both the piece’s mood and the rhythm expertly. Never wishing to sacrifice tone for volume, Morgan still managed to fill the hall with the warm sound of his guitar.

The next two pieces, Roth’s Song to the Moon and Iannarelli’s Tribute to Keith Jarrett, showed Morgan’s skill at creating moods with his strings while showing off near perfect technique. Both pieces focused on a central theme that was then repeated, creating an overwhelming hypnotic effect.

He snapped the crowd out of its trance with the glorious Cuban Landscape with Bells by Leo Brouwer, letting the riffs fly while de-tuning his guitar to create the sound of a throng of bells.

The final trick up Morgan’s sleeve was Jorge Ritter’s Capoeira Variations, with a musical theme developed from the Brazilian martial art. Over ten minutes, Morgan swung the tune from jazz to rock (even quoting guitar god Jimmy Hendrix) to finish his lunchtime set in empathetic style.

At just 25, Morgan has a very promising career ahead.

Morgan Szymanski
St. George’s Bristol
John Packwood, B.E.P
26/11/04
****

Morgan Szymanski, who paid his first visit to Bristol for this lunchtime series recital, is a talented guitarist with a great future before him.
He opened the concert with a work by the British composer Alec Roth, who based his piece on a picture by a Brazilian artist, The Unicorn in the Garden.

Moving from the lower to the upper register of the instrument in rapid succession, the soloist showed a range of colour in his excellent interpretation of this interesting composition.

The Mexican composer Manuel Ponce wrote six Sonatas for Guitar in the styles of different composers. Number three certainly has the Hispanic sound of his own country. It leads in with a gentle tune in the top compass followed by a delightful Chanson, after which the Allegro moves along in the minor key before ending in quiet solitude.

Two contrasting pieces by the Italian Simone Iannarelli firstly offered a charming tune in waltz-time the bell-like sounds in Cancion para Beatriz. They were both given sympathetic readings by Szymanski, who was given a chance to show his exceptional skills in Cuban Landscape with Bells by Leo Brouwer.

The second piece by Alec Roth was Cat Dances, which is a description in music of the antics of four different cats encountered by the composer. The feeling shown varied from
light and airy to sombre and finally hilarious with the Cheshire Cat. These images were brilliantly portrayed.

As an encore we were treated to the exquisite Capricho Arabe by Francisco Tarrega.

Young guitar star with an instant fan club ‘To judge from the whoops and whistles that greeted him, Morgan Szymanski already has a fan club. He made light of Alberto Ginastera’s 1976 Sonata, an enjoyable period piece, demanding a virtual anthology of extended techniques . . . In Carlo Domeniconi’s Koyunbaba, the density of sound was as near to symphonic as the unamplified guitar gets….We will hear more of him

“Morgan earns approval with guitar brilliance?
Cheltenham Contemporary Concerts Series
Dean Close School, Cheltenham.
Alfred Laurence, Gloucestershire Echo.
12/02/04

SOLO guitar recitals are something of a rarity. So it was especially welcome that a concert given by Morgan Szymanski was included as part of the Cheltenham Contemporary Concerts series.

The young Mexican player put together a fascinating programme, nicely balanced between new work and established modern classics.

The recital began with Cat Dances and The Unicorn in the Garden by Alec Roth. Lightly sketched, they never clamoured for attention but gently coaxed the listener into their own, personal world of sound.

By way of contrast, Leo Brouwer’s Cuban Landscape conjured up an intriguing evocation of bells. This was followed by a delightful set of variations on a languid-sounding, Anatolian folk song by Carlo Domeniconi.

The inclusion of two of Walton’s Bagatelles made me wish we could have heard the other three.

But we were soon compensated by and exciting performance of another set of variations by the Mexican composer, Jorge Ritter.

The most substantial item was left for the end. This was a gripping performance of the four movement Sonata by Ginastera. Here Mr Szymanski displayed his wonderful musicality and technical accomplishment to the full with the exciting finale making a particularly strong impact.

Altogether an enjoyable and unusual recital by a player who is obviously well on the way to making a name for himself.

Morgan Szymanski
Lunchtime Concert
Fairfield Halls, Croydon.
Howard Thomas, Croydon Advertiser.
3/6/03

****

Another in the impressive series of talent under the Young Artists’ Platform umbrella from the Tillett Trust was Morgan Szymanski. Mexican-born, he firstly moved to Scotland to study guitar and composition, then to the Royal College of Music in London as a Wall Scholar.

It came as no surprise to read that he was awarded every prize available to guitarists at the RCM, as this recital demonstrated his outstanding musicianship on his instrument.
Tuesday’s pleasing and eclectic programme began with the Suite in A minor by the Mexican composer Manuel Ponce (1882-1948), himself a well travelled musician who had studied in Germany and Italy. This solidly constructed suite of six attractive dances was written in at least homage to J.S. Bach for no less than Segovia.

All the other items were genuine guitar music rather than arrangements, and the concert was all the happier an occasion for that. The influence of the chosen title Un Dia de Noviembre upon the Cuban composer Leo Brouwer was unclear. Indeed, he is not widely known outside six-stringed circles. But on this showing, he ought to be more often heard.

Asturias (Leyenda) by the Spaniard Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) is frequently played at guitar recitals, seldom more musically than by Szymanski. The composer, by the way, was so brilliant a pianist that at the age of seven he was granted a place at the Paris Conservatory but was refused quickly for his unruly behaviour, and remained undisciplined throughout his life, both academically and socially.

He also composed several operas. None of those rough edges was apparent in Asturias.
Francisco Tarrega, also Spanish (1852-1909), though academically sound, was foremost a renowned guitarist and wrote almost exclusively for that instrument. His Recuerdos de la Alhambra is also frequently heard and as become very popular. Szymanski played it with an unmistakable freshness.

Paulo Bellinati was the Brazilian composer of Jongo, the item that left the audience hoping in vain for an encore.

‘Playing with the utmost commitment one could tell that this was a player destined for
future glories, if there is any justice in this world. A very exciting player, mark my words’.

Tim Panting, Classical Guitar Magazine May 2002