Guitarist Ricardo Gallen released the first DSD 256 album from Eudora Records – Fernando Sor: Guitar Sonatas – which is the label’s top selling DSD release. Now Gallen returns with En Silencio (In Silence): Latin American Guitar Music, another must hear performance in Pure DSD 256 Stereo and DSD 256 Multichannel.
The silencing warmth of the recording can be experienced ahead of a purchase of the album by listening to his video performing one of the tracks from the album: the Agustin Barrios Mangore composition La Catedral: III. Allegro Solemne.
For this recording Sonodore microphones were used to bring the music to the Horus Analog to DSD 256 Converter from Merging Technologies. Eudora notes that “Of course, no DXD conversion and processing was applied, this is a pure DSD256 recording.”
En Silencio has a release date of March 16, 2018. But this album is too good to keep listeners waiting that long. So we have it for you today at the NativeDSD Music store in Stereo and Multichannel DSD 256 (the recorded DSD bit rate), DSD 128 and DSD 64.
Gonzalo Noqué, producer/engineer of Eudora Records, introduces this gorgeous new DSD 256 album with guitarist Ricardo Gallén in the NativeDSD Blog’s “Producer’s Notes” section. Gonzalo tells us: “Every time I record in DSD in the 13th Century Church of San Francisco, in Ávila (Spain) I marvel at the acoustics of this location and the ability of the DSD256 format to capture the nuances of the instruments and natural space acoustics.
To bring you the full benefit of this native DSD 256 recording, all the DSD files for En Silencio at the NativeDSD Music store use DSD rendering from the master DSD 256fs Stereo and Surround Sound recording. No DXD conversions, balancing and processing are present on this release.”
En Silencio (In Silence) is a Pure DSD release. The album features a 5 Channel DSD 256 recording with no DXD processing that was produced and recorded by Gonzalo Noque. All the DSD bit rates at NativeDSD were created in the DSD Domain by NativeDSD Mastering Engineer Tom Caulfield from the DSD 256 original recording using the Signalyst HQ Player 4 Pro mastering tools.
Read a personal note from the Producer about this recording in the Blog Article.
Ricardo Gallen – Guitar
Total time: 01:14:37
Horus, Merging Technologies
Gonzalo Noqué; DSD 512 downloads created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Lab in Marshfield, MA
These DSD 512 releases are all pure DSD created, they stayed in the DSD domain using professional software from Signalyst. They are not up samplings, for there are no PCM or DXD conversions involved in their production. They are re-modulations of the original DSD encoding modulations. The sonic advantage to these new Stereo DSD 512 releases, as with all higher DSD bit rate releases, is the wider frequency passband prior to the onset of modulation noise. This results in the listener’s DAC using gentler and more phase linear filters for playback of the music. Processed in the NativeDSD Mastering Lab by Mastering Engineer Tom Caulfield, the resulting DSD 512 files are exclusively available at NativeDSD.com
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Auditoria San Francisco, Avila, Spain
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
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|Release Date||March 2, 2018|
For guitarists, Eudora Records is a label to dream about. It is a mystery how producer and engineer Gonzalo Noque can recruit this level of talent and plumb the depth of acoustical research to deliver recitals like those in these recordings. Most recently, a major figure in classical guitar, Ricardo Gallén, has contributed two additional recordings to their catalog. Well-known for a series of Naxos recordings, Gallén delivered a fine recording of sonatas by Ferdinando Sor followed by an anthology of Latin America works titled En Silencio.
This 2018 release features Gallén’s remarkable Paco Marin (2003) 19th century-style instrument which, in a spacious room with lively overtones, yields a sweetness of tone, especially in the bright upper register. In the introductory liner notes, we are graced with a fine essay by Mario Alcaraz that skips over conventional musicological information in favor of musings on what it means to be a true artist or master. He reminds us that it involves, beyond the requisite technical virtuosity attained through hard-work, “a kind of peaceful, pleasurable understanding of the world – a mixture of love and insight.” Indeed. The brief essays in Spanish and English that accompany these discs are very well-done.
The finest works on this program are the two pieces by Leo Brouwer, Suite No. 2 and Dos temas populares cubanos. The composer himself encouraged the guitarist to record these for posterity, and it would be hard to imagine more moving and insightful renditions. I await the day when this superb composer will be recognized beyond the classical guitar world as a major figure in 20th century music, attracting transcriptions of his work for other instruments.
Less well-known is Jorge Morel, but his twilit Sonatina here is a wonder of lyrical economy. Even the Allegretto, the easiest movement on the recording, is a guitarist ballad drenched in middle register honey, evoking Satie at his best with a little of the Balkan guitar tradition emerging from the wings. There is more introspective beauty to come in the two pieces by Carlos Farinas, the inevitable cancion triste, and the title track en silencio. These quiet pieces achieve the finest concentration of both sonic detail and nuanced playing.
Given the popularity of all things tango and of Piazzolla, it is not surprising to encounter one of his Portenos. Technically demanding and effusively rhetorical, this piece serves up all the by-now-(too)-familiar tango gestures. Like so much of the music of this composer, the melody line has the attention span of a short-haired pointer. I would guess that many in Audiophile Audition’s audience will like this piece more than me. Gallén’s performance, though, is admirable. His fingers warmed up; Villa-Lobos follows. If not for the musicality of the guitarist, these pieces might evoke the conservatory practice room, the technicality of expressive balance tips only slightly to the latter. Fortunately, everything that follows is a notch better, starting with three pieces by Antonia Lauro. These are brisk, invigorating polyphonic swirls; the guitar is at its most orchestral, no space is left uncolored by decorative detail. These must be extremely challenging pieces, but it is joy rather than effort that is communicated here.
This an exceptionally fine recital by one of the elite players today.
Classical Music Sentinel
Now here’s a new recording of archetypal Latin American guitar pieces that I have a hard time putting down. It’s always on my desk or in the car, should the desire to hear it again arise. All the composers are obviously exponents of guitar music, and all the pieces, as varied as they are, well project the unmistakable warm colors and feel of South America, which undoubtably derives from Spanish roots, but has a flavor all its own. But none of this is of any relevance unless a musician can encapsulate all these elements into one eloquent quintessence.
Spanish guitarist Ricardo Gallén is one of those rare musicians that can efface oneself from the musical process. By this I mean that all you hear on this recording is the music’s essence coming through, pure and expressive, without the presence of a person struggling with the instrument. The guitar in this case is the medium through which the composer’s intent is transmitted to the audience. And Ricardo Gallén’s mastery of this very intimate instrument conveys all of this perfectly. His technique is such that he can focus on communicating a work’s musical narrative without difficulty or exaggeration. You hear the music, not him. Be it brilliance or melancholy, it’s all brought to the surface.
For those of you interested about such things, the instrument used in this recording is a 2003 Paco Santiago Marin, after Antonio de Torres FE17 (1864). All its nuances and tonal qualities are perfectly captured in this well-engineered DSD 256 recording. Eudora Records is an independent Spanish label whose mandate is to capture the finest music performances in the best possible sound quality. They’ve only been around for about four years now, and every recording I’ve heard so far has been impressive, in every way.
Early this spring, guitarist Ricardo Gallén returned to recording in DSD with an album devoted to Latin-American music.
Seven composers are played for the occasion. Astor Piazolla with “Invierno porteno,” Heitor Villa-Lobos with “Prélude N°1” and the Scottish Choro, Antonio Lauro with three works, respectively “Carora, La Negra and Natalia,” Agustin Barrios with “Vals” Op.8 N°3 and 4, Choro da Saudade, and then, from “La Catedral,” three movements (Prélude, Andante Religioso, Allegro Solemne), Léo Brouwer and his “Suite N°2 in three movements, then “Two Popular Cuban Themes,” Jorge Morel and his “Sonatine,” and finally Carlos Farinas with two pieces (“Sad Song” and “In Silence”).
As was the case in his earlier recording reviewed in this column, Ricardo Gallén transcends a musical discourse marked un undeniable technical perfection. Each page played delivers unique beauty, giving birth to more than a simple emotion A true meditation. Here, once again, is an essential guitar recording.
After I reviewed the first Ricardo Gallén guitar recital on Eudora, I was hoping to see more. And here it is, to my delight.
At the front of the Booklet, eloquent writer Mario Alcaraz gives philosophy, quite interesting. It brings comprehensive definition of a true artist, of which he outlines two ingredients. “The first ingredient comes from a kind of peaceful, pleasurable understanding of the world – a mixture of love and insight…we contemplate the beauties of Nature, or when we fall in love, see a magnificent work of art or listen to a beautiful piece of music such as Villa-Lobos’s Prelude No.1.”
The second ingredient is independent from the first; and Mario Alcaraz tells us “It is virtuosity”. This takes much willpower and discipline, but the right teaching eventually develops the ability to perform the miracle of art where one expresses naturally. Algaraz then declares “When vocation and virtuosity combine, you get a musician of the caliber of guitarist Ricardo Gallén.”
A final vision of Gallén’s music by Alcaraz is to enjoy the new album by relating it to the infinite beauty of flowers. We are invited to feel the delicacy, subtle fragrance, wealth of colors and “exuberance of the floral world”. Not all listeners of the “en silencio” recital on this album follow Alcaraz’s philosophies.
But, unusually for a disc’s booklet, Gallén himself writes an “Acknowledgements”, a detailed “seed for the idea of making this recording…” This is a remarkable series of influences beginning from 2015 – all artists, friendships, audiences, enormous professionalism, relatives, and his wife Eva, all for love. Having read all this, deep emotion is present at all levels in this guitar work, although I’m not too good at assigning many flowers when listening!
Since the booklet does not give a standard career, here is a short one. Ricardo Gallén, was born 1972, so I’ll supply some notes on his career from there. Since the 90’s he has been a world-renowned guitarist, giving highly acclaimed solo recitals throughout Europe and America and performances in concerts under the direction of well-known conductors. He has made several albums, mostly for Naxos and has received over twenty international prizes. Apart from his concertizing, he has had several teaching positions, and now teaches guitar at the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt”, Weimar, Germany.
The first word which came to me on listening to this disc was “intimate”, such is the controlled intensity of Gallén’s artistry. Most of the works Gallén plays here are part of his repertoire when he was 15 to 20 and many guitar enthusiasts will hear these delightedly.
Gallén’s tone, adduced from his guitar (2003 Paco Santiago Marin, after Antonio de Torres FE37 (1864)) is rich, varied and resonantly beautiful. In the upper voice he can change the timbre to a sharp-edged, penetrating tone or to a soft-edged, warm tone, the foundation of his expressive interpretation. In the lower voice his dynamic control is remarkable, changing the volume of accompaniments from loud to soft with innate skill. I was also very impressed with his ability to make complex polyphonic passages sound as if several instruments were playing. Even when playing fast, virtuosic passages, he makes a minimum of string whistles or fingerboard noises. He can, however, deliver fast, soft low note rows at the same time producing an underlying pecking noise on the guitar body, and swelling fast-repeated deep notes as if an accompaniment by timpani. A very impressive range of tones indeed – and he plays all the repeats, a real benefit. Gallén’s favorite guitar is a 2003 Paco Santiago Marin, after Antonio de Torres (1864).
An extremely high-quality solo requires a recording just as appropriate. This one was made in Auditorio San Francisco, Ávila, Spain, Oct 5-7, 2015. From the photos in the Eudora booklet, it shows the dome above the end of a post-church, with a tiny Gallén sitting a long way below, on the platform with his chair and guitar. The Producer and recording engineer is Gonzalo Noqué, overseeing Sonodore and Schoops microphones and recording at DSD256 (11.289MHz). The guitar’s sound is miked close in the Auditiorio but together with the dome height above, this gives a lovely smooth luminous “halo” of ambience which perfectly fits into the large wide range of Gallén’s music. This sound was best in 5.0 Channel Multichannel DSD, but in such a large space the Stereo sounds are also very good. In either, the essential feeling of intimacy from Gallén is well heard.
My previous wish to hear another recital by Eudora’s Ricardo Gallén has certainly been fulfilled. Also, it was interesting to read much on music making and its presentation in the unusual booklet; for me it added underlying philosophy to the playing that was then captured with startling realism in 5.0 Channel DSD Multichannel high-resolution sound. Highly recommended.
The expressively charged intimacy of guitar music. It is and remains a source of extraordinary joy. Especially when that music is played as superbly as by the Spanish guitarist Ricardo Gallén (1972).
Also a great pedagogue (he teaches at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Weimar, Germany), this true grand master of his instrument. Under the title ‘En Silencio’ (‘In Silence’), Gallénj opted for exclusively Latin guitar music, in which one enchanting evocation strings together. Brilliant and plastic at the same time, as these imaginative miniatures reveal themselves to the listener with full imagination and technical mastery.
The title of this album (also that of the final piece by Fariñas) reflects Gallén’s view that to become a real artist, two essential qualities are indispensable. Not so much to know what these are, but to possess their essence itself and develop it for a lifetime.
The first is a sense of a peaceful, enjoyable understanding of the world, in a mixture of love and insight. Difficult to put into words, but a feeling that most of us know well. The second, completely independent of the first, is virtuosity, including the willpower to acquire technical mastery in art (not necessarily music). Both qualities are harmoniously united on this album. The pure love for the music and the strongly connected musical pleasure that radiates from it and the perfect technique with which these pieces are given shape.
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