Soundboard reviews OMAGGIO CD

Frank Wallace, Omaggio A Tribute to the Legend [legacy] of Segovia
Soundboard Vol. 43 No. 2, p.57

Frank Wallace has enjoyed a career that has included touring since 1976, and these are pieces that likely have been in his repertoire for some time. Each one is played as if it were a brand new piece to discover, yet informed by the love, connection, and depth that one would experience with an old, special friend. This recording, played on a 1931 Hermann Hauser I instrument, which is a “twin brother” of one chosen be Segovia, is clearly an homage to the music but also to the contributions made to Wallace by his many teachers and fellow artists.

Three Preludes by Villa-Lobos are played beautifully, and even though these are decades-old staples of the repertoire, I found them very enjoyable to hear, with strong, assured passage work and bravura delivery. The “Garrotín” in Turina’s Homage a Tárrega is performed with hesitant phrasing, which contrasts with the solid rhythm in the “Soleares.” Among four pieces by Tárrega himself, his Prelude #5, not often heard in recordings, stands out as a quiet, delightful gem. Mompou’s Suite Compostelana is dedicated to Andrés Segovia, who held summer masterclasses in Santiago de Compostela for many years. Wallace attended in 1972, which clearly inspires his interpretation. Wallace presents each movement as its own unique poem, from the depths of the “Recitativo” to the infectiously dancelike “Muñeira.” He includes his own homage to Catalan composer Miguel Llobet with Dreams on a Lullaby, a set of variations on the carol “El Noi de la Mare.” This piece has a wide range of settings starting with a contrapuntally beautiful treatment, dissolving into explosively contemporary and later almost free improvisatory sections, returning home briefly to the theme, and later moving into sections reminiscent of Julián Orbón.

Wallace is a member of the growing generation of sexagenarian players who continue to inspire by their artistry. The recording is well produced, with a solid yet sensitive guitar presence, and excellent graphic design by Wallace’s wife Nancy Knowles. – Jim McCutcheon

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