Composer Roberto Sierra (left) looks over the score of his Folias with guitarist Manuel Barrueco.
Composer Roberto Sierra (left) looks over the score of his Folias with guitarist Manuel Barrueco. Asgerdur Sigurdardottir
Antonio Vivaldi: Guitar Concerto in D Major
Roberto Sierra: Folias for Guitar and Orchestra
Manuel Barrueco, Guitar
Paul Goodwin conducts the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Venue:Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Manuel Barrueco plays two pieces for guitar and orchestra, in concert with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Miguel Angel Fernandez
Manuel Barrueco's commitment to new music helps extend the repertoire for classical guitar. He performed the world premiere of Roberto Sierra's Folias in Spain in 2001.
Time-traveling has never been as easy, or as enigmatic, as in these two offerings by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Cuban-born American guitarist Manuel Barrueco.
In this concert, led by British conductor Paul Goodwin, Barrueco opens with Antonio Vivaldi's 18th-century Guitar Concerto in D. It was a tactical move, Barrueco admitted at the time, to play this familiar Vivaldi work: It's lovely, and the very definition of a crowd-pleaser, but Barrueco was less interested in this music than in the effect he could create with his next move.
But the question is: Which way did he move?
Roberto Sierra wrote his Folias for Guitar and Orchestra specifically for Manuel Barrueco. Though the work was composed early in this decade, Sierra (born in Puerto Rico in 1953 and now on the music faculty at Cornell) based it on a Portuguese dance tradition much older than Vivaldi. Originally, the Folias — or Follies — were a kind of Iberian version of English Morris dancing: men, dressed up like women, behaving extravagantly. The Folias have gone through many changes in style and interpretation in the centuries since.
When a comforting Vivaldi piece precedes an unknown 21st-century experiment, it's bound to counter the audience's expectations — and delightfully so, since it's not altogether clear which era we're visiting.
More About Manuel Barrueco
Manuel Barrueco has been a busy classical guitarist for more than three decades, ever since his Carnegie Hall debut in 1974. He's known for the precision of his playing and his beautiful tone.
Barrueco is not only a busy guitarist, but also a fine spokesman for his instrument, as well as a terrific mentor to up-and-coming guitarists. He's a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and has made appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Born in Cuba, Barrueco began playing guitar at age 8. As a teenager, he immigrated to the U.S. with his family as political refugees.
Barrueco has far-ranging tastes. Among his many CDs are recordings with artists as diverse as Placido Domingo , Keith Jarrett, Andy Summers of The Police, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, and jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola. Barrueco remains committed to performing new music for the guitar, collaborating with Arvo Part, Toru Takemitsu, Steven Stucky, and Roberto Sierra.