Sketches of Mexico Review: Steve Marsh, Classical Guitar Magazine, April 2014

Sarabande Records SARACD004

This is not so much a recording of a top guitar soloist presenting music from his native Mexico, it is more of a collaboration between Morgan Szymanski and twenty visual artists of various nationalities , whose works are shown on every other page in the highly colourful and informative accompanying 48-page booklet (all the illustrations are for sale from the record company´s website).

I had the pleasure of reviewing Julio César Oliva´s excellent collection ´Veinte Estampas de México´, nearly ten years ago, and wondered at the time when this piece would get recorded in it´s entirety; well here it is receiving it´s premiere recording and being presented by one of the guitar world´s foremost players who is obviously at home interpreting music from his homeland. The twenty ´movements´are all named after towns, cities or areas in Mexico and cover a variety of styles many illustrating the traditional rhythmic and musical diversity contained in that part of the world.

The programme concludes in fine style with six of Manuel Ponce´s highly melodic compositions all immaculately played and superbly phrased. A very entertaining and enthralling new release from an excellent musician.