Review of Henze Complete Music for Solo Guitar by Andrea Dieci, Brilliant Classic, 2016
“Now, Hans Werner Henze is an altogether different cup of tea….He is also very fecund…He’s that sort of person. Having the ability to let it all pour out, which in turn just creates more and more energy.” Julian Bream *
I do not think I have much to say or add to what over the years has already been published and analyzed about Hans Werner Henze. As a contemporary guitar’s fan I bow before this great musical and human figure who knew how to write these great passages for our favorite instrument, music pages that I hope would be part of the repertoire of every classical guitarist, so great their importance , so profound the beauty that they express and inspire to those who have read and listen to them. These three scores that Andrea Dieci recorded on this CD recently released for Brilliant Classics, may be considered as three pillars of guitar’s contemporary music, three masterpieces that have significantly strengthened a repertoire considered by many narrow and limited. We have to thank Julian Bream for pushing Henze composing for classical guitar, promoting this new repertoire and for recording Drei Tentos in his 1967 record masterpiece “20th Century Guitar”, but I would let the same Henze to comment about these three tracks that Andrea Dieci masterfully plays 49 years after Bream’s recording: ” I could finish and process Kammermusik 1958 just after my return from Greece, so it seems to me that in this passage you recognize impressions and memories of that country …. Named Drei Tentos, these pieces are in the repertoire of almost all the guitar players that I consider to be such. Even these Drei Tentos, who play as well as I imagine the Greek music to be, have something to do with the exchange of thematic and harmonic structures within the overall work: every movement acts as core that provides the material for the rest of the music. ” **
Royal Winter Music too comes from an explicit request by Bream: “After the Kammermusik performance he and I got on pretty well, and I was always hankering after another piece from him until eventually, and many years later, it arrived. It was enormous!” ***
Bream was right: Henze composed for him a six parts sonata more than half an hour long titled Royal Winter Music, a really important work, not so easy to handle live, in a recital. Henze recalls, “Julian said ‘What Beethoven’s Hammerklavier means for pianists and piano, the Royal Winter Music must mean for the guitar’”. **** This work, or at least the first part of it came in 1976 and the first performance was made in Berlin on September 10 of that year as part of the Berliner Festwochen, while the second part will come after five years and will be performed the 25 November 1980 in Bruxell, by Reinbert Evers.
The beautiful booklet that accompanies the CD, edited by Carlo Lo Presti, offers a complex analysis and A magnificent explanation about this work that simply dominates this CD: in a sense Andrea Dieci seems almost before offering us a taste of Henze’s capabilities and potential with the Drei Tentos then guide us in the theater and the suffered vicissitudes of Shakespearean characters “reinterpreted” by Henze’s musical vision. Whit his Royal Winter Music Henze really “crown” Bream’s desire to celebrate a true work, a real new musical structure for classical guitar . I think this is an important cd, showing a real musical journey both from the composer and interpreter point of view and I believe it’s an essential listening not only for any classically trained guitarist, but also for any fan of contemporary music . The Brilliant Classics has made a great job.
* Julian Bream Tony Palmer, Julian Bream A Life on the Road, Macdonald & Co, 1982, pag. 82
** Hans Werner Henze, Canti di Viaggio Una Vita, Il Saggiatore, 1996, pag. 167
*** Julian Bream Tony Palmer, Julian Bream A Life on the Road, Macdonald & Co, 1982, pag. 83
**** Hans Werner Henze, Canti di Viaggio Una Vita, Il Saggiatore, 1996, pag. 336