St. Mark's Cathedral was the site of a small triumph Tuesday evening when the Utah Clas-sical Guitar Society presented Brazilian guitarist Fabio Zanon in recital. This talented young musician showed his versatility in a program of music spanning several centuries, from the Baroque to the 1980s. And it was obvious that he was at home in each style period.
Zanon began his recital with the "Fantasia on a Theme by Donizetti" by the little-known early 19th century Bohemian composer Johann Mertz. This was a delightful little piece, and Zanon played it with the simplicity it needed to be effective.The next item on the program was a set of four keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, in Zanon's transcription for guitar. These are four very different one-movement works, each expressing a different mood or feeling, and Zanon did an outstanding job in portraying these feelings.
Zanon also commented on each piece he was going to play. This is very helpful, especially with the works of composers who are not so well-known to the average listener. This made the concert that much more enjoyable.
The last work on the program before intermission was a piece by the contemporary Brazilian composer Ronaldo Miranda, "Ap-pas-sionata." Even though this work was written in 1984, it was not premiered until last year because it was considered almost impossible to play on the guitar. It is indeed an extremely difficult piece, but Zanon made it seem easy. He exhibited his mastery of the guitar.
"Appassionata" is an exciting work. There are two widely opposite themes at work here. The first theme is very intense, hard and almost dissonant. This is contrasted by the sweet lyricism of the romantic second theme. Zanon brought out this dichotomy in the music very convincingly.
In the second half of the concert, Zanon performed another work by a contemporary South American composer, the Sonata, op. 47 by the Argentinian Alberto Ginastera. This work is from 1976 and is another extremely difficult piece for guitar. The four movements in this sonata exhibit extremely contrasting ideas and a wide range of guitar techniques. As Zanon explained before playing the sonata, Ginastera was influenced by many different elements.
Probably the most effective and beautiful movement is the slow third movement. It has an almost surreal quality about it that is almost impossible to explain. It must be experienced.
Rounding out the last half of the program was Zanon's transciption of J.S. Bach's solo violin sonata in A minor, BWV 1003. This was an inspired performance of this magnificent work, and at times it seemed that Zanon was transported to another world while playing it. Once again the slow movement proved to be the most effective movement, this time achieving an ethereal mood.
This was very stunning guitar music, and it, along with the Scarlatti sonatas, showed what an effective and masterful transciber Zanon truly is.
Zanon is quite definitely a world-class performer and an outstanding example of the younger generation of guitarists. He is a worthy successor to Julian Bream and Christopher Parkening.