Review of Pablo Marquez, Musica del Delphin, ECM, 2007

Pablo Marquez is a classic Argentinean guitarist whose skills and virtuosity were made available to different situations, collaborations and musical backgrounds. He has played with groups such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, as well as with traditional Argentine music groups, also studying with the bandoneon master Dino Saluzzi, while his involvement with contemporary music has also led him to collaborate with composers such as Luciano Berio, Gyorgy Kurtag and Maurizio Kagel.

Music Del Delfin, released by ECM New Series in 2007, is a collection of music by Luys de Narvaez, Spanish musician and composer born in 16th century. The 17 pieces contained in the CD were originally written for the vihuela, an instrument similar to guitar in vogue in the 16th century and which today it’s considered by many as a precursor of the six-string instrument that we all know. All these scores comes from the Navarez’s collection published in 1580 as Los Seys Libros de Musica del Delphin, where there are different kinds of fantasies , secular and religious songs. For this recording, Marquez has chosen seventeen of these forty works. The same Marquez in the beautiful booklet that accompanies the CD (pure style ECM) underlines his deepest respect for Narvaez’s music, explaining how he needed twenty years to study  Renaissance music in order to acquire the necessary skills to be able to play with his classical guitar these compositions: one of his goals was indeed to demonstrate the absolute actuality of Renaissance music by showing how it can be reproduced without the vihuela and with modern classical guitar. 

I think we can confirm that this target was successfully achieved! Marquez manages to create an elegant and intimate setting, making the Delphin Music cd a nice, pleasant, catchy and relaxing, offering food for our thought. These musics aren’t muted memories of a now extinct past, but in the hands of Marquez become suspended moments, abstract compositions, real musical ideals brought back to life with discreet and gentle virtuosity by this great guitarist. I also recommend the excellent cd “Gustavo Leguizamon El cuchi bien temperado”, also published in 2015 for ECM.

Track Listing: Primer tono por ge sol re ut (Libro I, 1); Cancion del Emperador (Mille Regretz de Josquin) (Libro III, 6); Fantasia del quinto tono (Libro II, 3); Segundo tono (Libro I, 2); Diferencias sobre Conde Claros (Libro VI, 1); Tercero tono (Libro I, 3); Fantasia del primer tono (Libro II, 6); Baxa de contrapunto (Libro VI, 4); Quarto tono (Libro I, 4); Diferencias sobre el himno O Gloriosa Domina (Libro IV, 1); Quinto tono de consonancia (Libro I, 5); Je veulx laysser melancolie de Richafort (Libro III, 9); Sesto tono sobre fa ut mi re (Libro I, 6); Sanctus y Hosanna (Missa Faisant Regretz de Josquin) (Libro III, 3/4); Septimo tono sobre ut re mi fa mi (Libro I, 7); Fantasia del quarto tono (Libro II, 2); Octavo tono (Libro I, 8).