With sonatas, bagatelles, studies and dances, this disc forms a comprehensive introduction to the classically oriented section of the diverse oeuvre of the guitarist/composer Dusan Bogdanovic. Serbian by origin, long based in the US, Bogdanovic (b.1955) has made artistic collaborations with jazz, classical and ‘world’ musicians throughout his career. His distinguished pedagogical work has resulted in the publication of various method-books for guitarists and is represented here by five of his Polyrhythmic and Polymetric Studies (1990).
The two sonatas are more substantially through-composed works. As Bogdanovi himself remarks in a useful booklet note, the first sonata (1978) betrays the influence of Bartok upon his early compositions, while the second, written seven years later, admits a much wider frame of reference, disciplined by the classical sonata model. The resulting work has nothing of the generically Spanish flavour that is evident in so much guitar music, but takes its cue from the composer’s own mastery of the instrument to move between whimsical reflection and punchy, rhythmic momentum with some technical innovations that produce new sounds and tone-colours. The second Raguette pursues these innovations more single-mindedly: a brief introduction to the Indian raga tradition ‘meant for nervous Westerners’, melodically based on a work of John Dowland.
There is also a first recording, of a work commissioned by Angelo Marchese, and inspired by the soloist’s native Sicily. In Cinque pezzi di Mare (2013), a romantic spirit of expression grows from material based on modes rather than standard diatonic harmony, enclosing a waltz which consciously evokes the idiom of the jazz pianist Bill Evans. This is an important addition to the extensive Brilliant Classics library of guitar music.
Dusan Bogdanovic, born in 1955 in former Yugoslavia, is one of the foremost guitar composers and guitarists of today. A pupil of Alberto Ginastera and winner of the prestigious Geneva Competition he successfully toured the world’s continents as performer and composer.
Bogdanovic’s style may be described as a fusion of classical, jazz and ethnic, a unique and personal style of strong expression and feelings.
Guitarist Angelo Marchese is “an profound performer of supreme technical mastery” (Guitart magazine). His recording of Gilardino’s guitar concerto for Brilliant Classics (BC94747) was widely praised in the press.
The booklet contains extensive and authoritative liner notes written by the composer.