Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Jean Louis Duzert
Thursday, January 21, 2016. 8:00pm. Teatro Bernadette Lafont, Nimes (France)
Two facets of the maestro Cañizares
Yesterday frigid temps made it feel like the North Pole here in Nimes, or so it seemed to someone more accustomed to the climate of Andalusia. But nothing could dampen the excitement generated by the Festival Flamenco, now in its home stretch with a program of the highest quality.
At midday, within the series of lectures, musicologist Faustino Núñez gave his talk «Los Palos del Flamenco de A a Z», a general introduction to the structures of flamenco. And at eight in the evening, the Bernadette Lafont Theater once again filled up, on this occasion for the performance of guitarist Juan Manuel Cañizares and his «Cuarteto Flamenco Interpreta a Falla». Important achievements and collaborations grace the career of the Catalonian maestro. He holds Spain's National Prize for Guitar, 1982, Prize for Best Interpreter of Classical Music in 2008, collaborations with Enrique Morente, Camarón, Diego Carrasco, María Pagés, Manzanita and José Mercé among many others, in addition to six solo recordings, and being soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at Madrid's Teatro Real. But perhaps the most noteworthy element of his career is the 10-year stint alongside Paco de Lucía.
Cañizares has applied his seemingly boundless virtuosity to reproducing the work of Manuel de Falla. At the 2014 Guitar Congress in Córdoba, the guitarist talked about the laborious process of adaptation of this type of music to guitar. The first part of last night's recital showed the results of this work. It's surprising how he manages to communicate all the lush sound of Falla, a world of images that are unmistakably Spanish, melancholic harmonies, the rich folklore of this country turned into identity and expression. Cañizares reproduces the sound of a large orchestra, and no matter how much you keep looking around the stage, the only musical back-up is second guitarist Juan Carlos Gómez. The Danza Ritual del Fuego, particularly well-done, the Canción del Fuego Fatuo, the Vida Breve danced by Charo Espino, the Danza del Molinero, with Ángel Muñoz, (who also plays the cajón in several pieces): beautiful music, the original sound-track of a country and its culture.
After an intermission, we bid farewell to Manuel de Falla, to get in the modern groove with the compositions of Juan Manuel Cañizares. Now it was a contemporary sound with extended chords, flamenco forms and others that were not specifically flamenco. Noteworthy, the guajira danced by Charo Espino, and some musically exotic alegrías danced by the couple Charo and Ángel.
A Paco-style rumba, light and refreshing, closed the program, not without an encore demanded by the enthusiastic audience.