Vicente Coves

Latin American Music for Guitar

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AllMusic Review by

Classical guitarist Vicente Coves, who is also a composer, arranger, and the writer of the liner notes for this album, is a musical force to be reckoned with. A student of renowned Pepe Romero (himself one of the three guitarist sons of legendary Celedonio Romero), Coves is clearly an artist whose star is on the rise, as demonstrated by this 2011 release. From the first track, Preludio, with its playful rhythms to the tempo- and mood-changing Al Maestro, Coves is capable of playing everything with a keen sense of the spirit of the music. Coves excels at pieces like Canción de cuna, which is so poignant, ethereal, and heartbreakingly intimate that it is almost difficult to hear the piece begin. One highlight of the album is the ultra-modern Chelitango Coves himself wrote in 2004, which leaves the listener wishing for more works composed by the artist. There is no doubting Coves' technique or his skilled musicianship that allows him to handle rubato gracefully and convey a variety of emotions. However, this talented artist has made some questionable repertoire choices on this album. After the first five pieces, one starts to feel that this is all beautiful, contemplative music, albeit a bit repetitive in mood. Only halfway through the album is there a piece with a lot of continuous motion that flows actively, the Allegro solemne, and the passion in Alfonsina y el mar is so enjoyable that one wishes he would push the edge more as an artist and choose more pieces that required this type of energy. Perhaps the greatest flaw of this album is his choice of Piazzolla's Chiquilín de Bachín, which sounds horribly out of place. After an album of nonverbal solo guitar, the piece begins with a narrator, which is extremely jarring, and the piano enters afterward. Only much later does the guitar appear, but it is overwhelmed by the voice and the piano. It is simply too much on this album of delicacy and beauty. This is a good lesson for any artist: in recording an album one must think carefully about the succession of choices and the programming. But in no way does this diminish Coves' musicianship.

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