Berta Rojas
Reviews
Terruño
/ CD Album

Terruno is a creative effort that connects the listener with the "native soil" of the homelands of several fine composers. From the first playful notes of Vincent Lindsay-Clark's Laura, one is certain that Rojas is an artist unrestrained by technique and able to relate to the guitar within a realm of deep expression. A naturalness of phrasing, with constant variety in rubato, dynamics, and articulation, maintains a freshness of delivery without losing any sense of coherence. Costa Rican Edin Solis' Preludio follows, completely changing the mood to a quiet spaciousness, with seamless legato and long, sustained notes bringing out the beauty of the instrument (and the artist) in an unhurried, almost meditative flow. Solis' Danza contrasts this with an energetic, strong presence, using sparkling arpeggios, hip pizzicato riffs and glissandi in a style used by contemporary steel string artists, punctuated by rock-like chordal sections reminiscent of the classical/contemporary compositions of David Cullen, full of energy, clarity, and artistic usage of the guitar's capabilities. This composition, with some sections built around spirited improvisational wanderings rather than concisely constructed and contrapuntal thematic elements, shows Rojas is not afraid to approach the boundary between what is considered to be "classical" and "new age fingerstyle" guitar. This is dangerous territory, since it is fairly easy for both composer and performer to lapse into creating music which is not all that interesting. In this work, arpeggiated progressions sometimes border on the "new age," but not for too long, and always flow into compositionally richer sections, with multiple elements brought out with clear balance by a performer well-versed in classical guitar technique. Other favorites include Argentinean Quique Sinesi's three pieces, especially Cancion hacia vos, where the guitar becomes a vehicle for deep expression. Vincent Lindsay-Clark's Pictures of Sark is a delightfully diverse set of pieces, with "La Moinerie" reminding one of the music of Frederic Hand. Gismonti's Baiao malandro shows Rojas' arranging skills, fearlessly taking technique to the limit and using the guitar to the utmost. This recording, consistent with other issues from Rojas' ONmusic label, achieves a realistic guitar sound, and the liner notes, in both English and Spanish, are informative, clear, and artistically presented. Brava!

Jim McCutcheon
Soundboard Magazine
[ USA ]