José María Sánchez-Verdú’s guitar collection and diary, “Music for Guitar Ochra” by Giuseppe Mennuti, Contrastes Records, 2022
Ochra | cataloguecontrastes (contrastesrecords.com)
The time has come to get to know the musical world of the composer José María Sánchez-Verdú and his interpreter, Giuseppe Mennuti, who show us a new evolutionary branch of research music for the guitar.
José María Sánchez-Verdú (born in 1968 in Algeciras) is a Spanish composer. He holds degrees in Conducting, Musicology and Composition at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid and in Law at the Universidad Complutense. He studied composition in 1992 with Franco Donatoni in Siena. He completed his postgraduate studies with Hans Zender at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt from 1996 to 1999. Since October 2001 he has been professor of Composition at the Robert-Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf and since 2008 also at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragon (Zaragoza).
Giuseppe Mennuti is an Italian classical and electric guitarist. He began studying classical guitar at the age of 11 with Davide Cervellino, continuing with Michele Greci and Gianvito Pulzone, at the “Gesualdo da Venosa” Conservatory in Potenza, finishing in 2014 with honors. During the same year, he teaches at the “Mario Bruno Musical Institute” in Lavello (PZ), and is selected by the “Musicare” Association of Nuoro, to participate in the “Rassegna di Giovani Artisti”. The following year he began his studies with Francisco Bernier at the “Manuel Castillo” Conservatory in Seville, concluding in 2019 with honors and the Fin de Carrera Prize. He performs in numerous concerts in Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and France, in different festivals and concert halls (Capilla Gotica del Alcazar, Iglesia de San José, Museum of Fine Arts, Sala Turina, Juventudes musicales, in Seville, Fundaciónes Cajasoles of Cordoba and Huelva, Lutheran Church of Geneva, Sala Casella of Rome, La Muse en Circuit of Altfortville).
“Ochra” is a complex album, a musical collection that unfolds like a diary of feelings, emotions and moods. Or perhaps the diary of that obscure yearning that animates the human creative soul, which drives it as much to put together a collection as to keep a diary, that is, the need to transform the flow of one’s existence into a series of musical objects saved from the dispersion of time, or in a series of pentagram lines, crystallized out of the flow of thoughts. The charm of a musical collection, of a repertoire, lies in the amount it hides of the secret drive that led it to create it. The sound object, through which Sánchez-Verdú’s research moves, has been disintegrated and recomposed into a changing grid to which new ideas can be hung, or through which they can intertwine. This composer’s guitar music, rather than being imposed as a familiar model to lean on in an unrecognizable world, is used to make sense of evolving circumstances. Some of this music moves in fragments, which are in turn recombined into concrete structures. Sánchez-Verdú seems to have overcome a vision of art, of music, as ‘mimesis’. Instead of the world as an object that can be represented by art and art as a representation of the world, Sánchez-Verdú’s music seems to remind us how everything man does can be seen as representation, as figuration, as musical conception. His guitar music is a reflection on forms, a hypothesis of musical formalization of a virtual world and a continuous reflection on the guitar as a sound object. A careful critique of the way we are involved in the triple role of exhibitors, exhibitors and the public. A sign of attention for the interpreter, Giuseppe Mennuti. For Mennuti, only his guitar and the space around it seem to exist. If music has become liquid, Mennuti is the right person to manage a hybridization of hybrids, to add further meaning to the soundscape, to a mental place where the music moves and the listener can wander and meditate.
TRES CAPRICHOS (2003 – 2005) *
1. El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
2. El amor y la muerte
4. CUADERNO DE FRIEDENAU (1998)
5. NADA (2007) *
for guitar and cello
6. YAD (2018) *
Étude for e-guitar
OCHRA (2020 – 2021) *
8. Terra di Siena
11. KITAB 1 (1996) *
Giuseppe Mennuti, classical & electric guitar
Giorgio Lucchini, cello
* World premiere recording