In the vast panorama of 20th-century guitar music, the works of Madrid composer Tomás Marco hold a prominent position. Born in 1942, Marco first became known as an exponent of the Spanish avant-garde in 1963 with Albayalde for solo guitar, and would return to write for that instrument in later years. In the Seventies, he composed two new works, Paisaje Grana and Naturaleza muerta con guitarra, both from 1975 and dedicated to two important figures of Spanish culture: Juan Ramón Jiménez and Pablo Picasso. Written in a more mature and less irreverent language than Albayalde these two works, for the use they make of the guitar, can be considered stylistic forerunners of the compositions of the Nineties, which are closer to the Spanish music tradition, even the popular one, and to which the three works of this recording belong.
22 Tarots, Presto Mormorando and Sonata de Fuego were written between 1990 and 1996. Even though they are formally very different - a collection of short pieces, a single work, a sonata - the three works share traits that warrant their being united in this sort of short anthology.
One common trait is the use of tonal language. This was a deeply felt choice and one that was probably pursued by Marco throughout the years, almost the longed-for return to a more simple and expressive language, coinciding, moreover, with a desire to show the playful aspect of composing music.
Another constant feature of these pieces is the use of technical patterns exquisitely characteristic of the guitar, on which the author seems to insist as if to find inspiration, so that these works, especially the 22 Tarots, can also be considered ”guitar studies”, with a didactic as well as a purely musical significance.
The aspect we would like to underline the most, however, is the evocative quality that Marco is able to infuse into his music by re-elaborating the often few and simple elements of his writing .
If we examine the two longer works, but also in the Presto Mormorando, this quality appears constantly, conjuring up ever different extra-musical dimensions and meanings. In most of the 22 Tarots (1991) the music evokes the moral traits characteristic of each card.
Analogously, the Presto Mormorando (1996) could be defined as an, albeit short, example of ”programme music”. The murmuring, the constant flow of sound, the lightness and airiness are cleverly suggested throughout this beautiful work, which reveals a longing to never end. Finally, the Sonata de Fuego (1990), in four movements that are technically and musically complex, is also rich in references to European and extra-European musical codes and worlds, used by the composer as a filter to generate a new reading key, a key for a musical universe centred around the guitar.
(by Marcello Fantoni)
"...All three works on this bountiful CD, from the minute Presto Mormorando to the massive 22 Tarots brim with interest and attractiveness. Add to this memorable melodies, atmospheric harmonies, suave surges of animation and nostalgic moods. It all adds up to an irresistible recital that should appeal to most tastes, from those who know their Tárrega or Pujol to the general listener who enjoys Bream or Segovia... Sound quality is very acceptable."
Byzantion - MusicWeb-International.com - 24 July 2012
"...The technical demands of all three works are immense, and guitarist Fantoni meets then fearlessly. I can’t imagine these works played much better..."
Kenneth Keaton - American Record Guide - July/August 2012