Gabriel Bianco has perfect timing

Gabriel Bianco, guitar

March 20, 2010

Edmonton Classical Guitar Society

Muttart Hall, Alberta College

Music by Sor, Turina, Rodrigo, J.S. Bach, Henze, Mangoré, Schubert, Regondi.


The old saying goes that pets frequently resemble their owners; the same is often true of musicians and their instruments.  When Gabriel Bianco walked on stage at Muttart Hall with his classical guitar, my first impression was that either could easily be swept away by a brisk Chinook wind.  As he took a seat and got his fingers moving with Fernando Sor’s Variations on a Theme of Mozart, however, I was reminded that size doesn’t predict sound.  Bianco’s playing was anything but unsubstantial.  His music was warm and clear, filling the small auditorium and keeping us tuned in for the next two hours.

Classical guitar players face an interesting choice: they can play only the music written for their instrument, which limits them to a fairly small range of styles and composers, or they can explore the entire scope of music by playing compositions for other instruments on the guitar.  Many performers succeed at translating music for their own instruments, and Gabriel Bianco did a superb job of this.  Franz Schubert’s Lob der Tränen was originally written for piano and voice but fit well within a guitar arrangement.  A highlight in the first half was J.S. Bach’s a minor sonata for solo violin, which Bianco played without losing any of ideas in the violin part.  The Bach was a little fast throughout for my taste, but the quick tempo wasn’t a problem for Bianco’s agile fingers.

One thing stuck out for me throughout the concert, as the music shifted from Spain to Germany to Paraguay and back.  Gabriel Bianco has a great feel for the intensity of each piece and managed to draw the audience in by building tension and waiting just long enough before letting us relax again.  We were led through the highs and lows of the music carefully, drifting from suspension to resolution at precisely the right time.

I always like it when performers are comfortable enough to chat between sets; it’s not necessary, but when musicians can set up a good relationship with their audience it creates a great mood.  Gabriel Bianco was clearly relaxed on stage and took time between pieces to explain what was coming next.  After finishing the program with Giulio Regondi’s virtuosic and sparkly Introduction and Caprice, Bianco returned for an encore, announcing with a small grin that he would end the evening with “something a little slower”.  Once again, after building the excitement of the music gradually through the entire evening, Bianco knew exactly how to let us relax and unwind.  Perfect timing.


more in Music Feature     |     posted Mar 16th, 2010 at 4:40pm     

All Content Copyright © SEE Magazine 2008 About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Contest Disclaimer