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"A must have..." – WILLIAM YEOMAN

 

The tango, which Piazzolla liberated from dance, is both extended and tamed by the classical guitar. That’s partly what the Swiss guitarist Christoph Denoth is getting at when he writes that ‘these present recordings aim to express today’s broader definition of tango and exploit the acoustic range of the guitar in order to integrate the tango and its untamed beauty into classical music’.

 

In all these miniatures – some arrangements, some written for the instrument — there are folklorist echoes amplified by compelling rhythmic variations, extended harmonies and songlike melodies. Somewhere among this seductive sound world, Denoth finds room for his own style by finding pleasure in the play of opposites – especially the tension between European classicism and the folk traditions of South America.

 

Denoth’s recital opens with some of Piazzolla’s most widely arranged works, many of which have theatrical origins. The composer’s own favourite, Adios nonino, so full of subtle changes of mood, sits at the centre of a set which alternates between the urgency of pieces like Libertango and Verano porteño and those of a more reflective nature, such as Oblivion and the exquisite Milonga del ángel.

 

These contrasts are maintained throughout the rest of the programme, with works by other tango legends such as Gardel and those exploring different national styles, like Antonio Lauro with his Venezuelan take on the waltz, and Gismonti’s saudade-saturated Agua y vinbo and Dyens’s cheeky ‘fake tango’ Tango en Skaï.

 

There is little here that hasn’t been recorded before by the likes of John Williams et al. What makes Denoth’s offering a must-have is a musical sensitivity exemplified as much by his curation as by his playing.

 

 

GRAMOPHONE Sept 2018

GRAMOPHONE – WILLIAM YEOMAN

Sometimes a work’s ubiquity blinds us to its brilliance. Familiarity breeds – albeit amiable, cosy – contempt. Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez could be considered such a work. But fresh juxtapositions yield fresh perspectives. And so it proves here with...this „highly enjoyable new recording that provide attractive new settings for Rodrigo’s jewel.

Spanish composer Lorenzo Palomo’s suite for guitar and orchestra Nocturnos de Andalucía might use an orchestra more than twice the size of Rodrigo’s, but Palomo’s writing exhibits the same kind of elegant restraint. This magnificent tone-poem, with its lush, flamenco-hued evocations of shifting passions beneath the stars, thus balances rather than overwhelms Rodrigo’s chamber-like atmosphere – a genuine conversation, especially in the hands of the superb Swiss-born guitarist Christoph Denoth and the LSO under Jesús López Cobos.

Denoth’s own arrangement of Joaquín Malats’s tuneful, ever-popular Serenata española (actually originally an orchestral piece before being arranged for piano and then solo guitar) is closer to the Concierto de Aranjuez in its economy of means and elegant colouristic flourishes, and makes for a satisfying encore or pendant to the previous two works. Throughout, Denoth again shows himself to be a thoughtful musician of considerable taste and technical prowess, and his recording of the Palomo suffers not one jot by comparison with that of the work’s dedicatee, Pepé Romero.

 

Juni 2016

RITMO, Musica Clàsica, CD review Ritmo Parada

An interesting programme which adds to the often recorded „Concierto de Aranjuez“ the extensive suite for guitar and orchestra in six movements by Lorenzo Palomo (Pozoblanco, Córdoba, 1938) „Nocturnos de Andalucía“, commissioned by Pepe Romero who world-premiered this piece under the baton of Frühbeck de Burgos in the year 1996. The CD closes with a good version for guitar and orchestra, realized by Denoth himself, of the beautiful „Serenata Española“ by the catalan Joaquín Malats (1872-1912), a piano work (originally with orchestra!) whichs popularity strangely declined in the last times. Palomo’s composition, with folkloric roots skillfully dressed with a modern language and a splendid orchestration, is an important contribution to the limited repertoire of guitar and orchestra. It’s a programme to follow with highest pleasure, if we add that the sound recording is excellent and that the interpretations of the guitarist of Basel, who possesses a marvellous sound and a remarkable musicianship, show perfectly its expertise and lean on the full professionality of the baton.

Ángel Carrascosa Almazán

 

Mai 2016

HESSISCHE NIEDERSÄCHSISCHE ALLGEMEINE – GEORG PEPL, Spielarten der Liebe

 

Feier für Shakespeare im Opernfoyer(Staatstheater Kassel)

 

 

Kassel. “Wenn die Musik der Liebe Nahrung ist, spielt weiter”. Heisst es in William Shakespeare Komödie “Was ihr wollt”. Reichlich Nahrung bekam die Liebe am Sonntag im sehr gut gefüllten Opernfoyer:Staatstheater-Intendant Thomas Bockelmann gestaltete mit Christoph Denoth eine musikalische Lesung zu Shakespeare 400. Todestag.

Im Zentrum standen die Sonette des Barden aus Stratford, die die ganze Dynamik von Liebesbeziehungenin unsterbliche Verse fassen. Bockelmann las eineAuswahl und gab spannende Infos mit unprätensiöser Leichtigkeit, wenn auch recht zügig im Tempo, was die Darbietung etwas gedrängt erscheinen liess.

Liebe und Vergänglichkeit sind ernste Themen, doch Shakespeare überrascht immer wieder mit witzigen Formulierungen . “Es darf auch geschmunzelt und gelacht werden”, sagte Bockelmann. Und es wurde gelacht, etwa beim zotigen Sonett 135 mit seinem mehrdeutigen Schlüsselwort “Will” - auch ein Slang -Ausdruck für das weibliche und männliche Genital.

In musikalischen Zwischenspielen glänzte der gebürtige Basler Christoph Denoth, der an der Royal Academy of Music in London lehrt. Voller Leben, mit feiner Dynamikund raffiniertem Rhythmus spielte der Gitarrist ursprünglich für Laute geschriebene Werke des Shakespeare Zeitgenossen John Dowland , der auch am Hof des kunstsinnigen Landgrafen Moritz des Gelehrten in Kassel gewirkt hat. Zuletzt gab’s attraktive Variationen des spanischen Komponisten Fernando Sor. Die 180 Zuhörer spendeten viel Beifall.


24. April 2016

RADIO SWISS CLASSIC, Kulturtipp von André Scheurer, CD Tip

Kontrastvoll

Der in London lebende Schweizer Gitarrist Christoph Denoth hat mit dem London Symphony Orchestra zwei Meisterwerke der spanischen Gitarrenmusik eingespielt. Joaquín Rodrigos «Concierto de Aranjuez» und die «Nocturnos de Andalucia» von Lorenzo Palomo bieten ein kontrastreiches Erlebnis voller Poesie, melancholischer Leidenschaft und andalusischer Tanzmusik. Denoth reizt dabei das klangliche und dynamische Spektrum der Gitarre voll aus.

Christoph Denoth

Nocturnos de Andalucía

(Signum Classics 2016).

 

31. März 2016

CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE 2016



ROBERT HUGILL - review of “Nocturnos de Andalucía"

*****

"Throughout Denoth impresses both with his technique, but also with the engaging way he plays the music. He clearly feels strongly about Palomo's work, and brings out the interesting darkness and complexity of Palomo's vision of Anadalusia. Whilst the Rodrigo is a lovely, highly recommendable performance, it is the Palomo which makes this disc special. I do hope that the performance makes more guitarists take up this fascinating work."

Full review available here.

 

24. März 2016

CLASSIC FM - review of “Nocturnos de Andalucía"

The ever versatile LSO also features on this exceptional album, where the London-based guitarist Christoph Denoth winningly mixes the familiar and the unfamiliar. His account of Rodrigo’s evergreen Concierto de Aranjuez, with the orchestra winningly conducted by the veteran Spanish conductor Jesús López Cobos, is excellent, and can be highly placed in a competitive field. But the real reason for buying this well filled 68-minute album is the fill-ups. Lorenzo Palomo’s Nocturnos de Andalucía is a substantial 40-minute, six movement piece for guitar and orchestra, which revisits the same Spanish themes and moods that so inspired the great late-19th century Spanish guitar virtuoso/composers.

It’s attractive, without ever being too comfortable, and backward looking. It’s very cleverly scored for large orchestra, and will give much pleasure. There’s also a delightful lollipop at the end, with Denoth’s own arrangement for guitar and orchestra of Joaquín Malats’ Serenata Espanola – 4½ minutes of pure joy.

 

Von David Mellor, 20. Februar 2016
ROBERT HUGILL - review of “Homages”

*****

"all the works on the disc had great emotional appeal (…) and Denoth's performance certainly makes you want to dance"

 

27 March 2015

AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE - review of «Homages»

«…His playing is beautiful.»

ENGADINER POST - Die grosse Kunst von Christoph Denoth

Gitarrenmusik aus vier Jahrhunderten

 

GERHARD FRANZ

Der Engländer John Dowland ist eigentlich der Vater der Lautenmusik. Er hat unzählige Lieder mit Lautenbegleitung geschrieben und natürlich auch vieles für Laute solo. Seine Musik transformiert leise Melancholie zu purer Schönheit und genau diese Stimmung zu vermitteln gelang Interpret Denoth hervorragend.

Christoph Denoth stellte uns sein Noctural op.70 vor, in Anlehnung an Dowland, anspruchsvoll für Solist und Zuhörer. Hier zeigte sich, wie genial Britten Themen anderer Komponisten zu variieren wusste. Erst am Schluss kehrte er in die Klangwelt von Dowland zurück. Auch hier brillierte Denoth mit seiner ausgereiften Technik.

Auch in den fünf Préludes von Heitor Villa-Lobos aus Rio de Janeiro war das der Fall. Mit der Folklore seines Landes war Villa-Lobos bestens vertraut. In seinen Werken für Gitarre verband er sie mit Elementen der Romantik und den mitreissenden Tänzen seiner Heimat. Die Nr. 3 ist eine Hommage an J. S. Bach. Grosse Kunst auf der Gitarre Ganz vortrefflich, wie Denoth sie gestaltete, auch hier zeigte sich seine grosse Kunst auf der Gitarre mit seinen überragenden Farbschattierungen. Ein grosser Künstler bescherte uns ein wundervolles Vorabendkonzert.

 

29. März 2014

THE NEW YORK TIMES - review of “Mister Dowland's Midnight”

"The melancholy, private lute music by John Dowland gets an infusion of fresh color in this recording by Christoph Denoth. Transposed to the modern guitar, the light-and-shadow contrasts of Dowland’s compositions become starker; the flights of counterpoint more brilliant. But it’s in the quietly meditative galliards that Mr. Denoth’s guitar sounds most lutelike."

GRAMOPHONE - review of “Mister Dowland's Midnight”

“Christoph Denoth is superbly placed to exploit the cantabile and colouristic properties of his instrument” (…) “beauty and power”

CLASSIC FM, THE NEW RELEASE SHOW - review of “Mister Dowland's Midnight”

"Well played… Makes a strong case for the music of Downland and show why we should stop overlooking him as a Great British composer."

THE NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW INC

"A master of his instrument, he performed with great technical skill, spinning out well-shaped melodic lines with crystal clear, often thrilling, accompaniments. He drew from his instrument so many different colors that one often thought there was more than one guitarist on stage."

BADISCHE ZEITUNG

“As soloist, outstanding Basel concert guitarist Christoph Denoth showed true empathy for the Spanish tone colour, instrumental subtleties and technical finesse” (…) “impressively harmonious rendering by Denoth”

BASLER ZEITUNG

On stage, Christoph Denoth and his instrument quite naturally became a single entity.”

BADISCHE ZEITUNG

"Christoph Denoth: Virtuosity and great musical expression"

NICE MATIN, Sylvie Carbou

«L’église Saint Grégoire a connu un beau moment de musique classique. Il faut dire que l’invité était prestigieux: le Suisse Christoph Denoth avait accepté de jouer un soir à Tourrettes, lui qui a connu sous les ovations, l’immense salle du Carnegie Hall de New York. [...] Quelques moments précieux ont émaillé cette soirée vraiment exceptionnelle. Ainsi le public, sous le charme, a pu découvrir un morceau écrit par Christoph Denoth lui-même et qu’il a intitulé ‹Hommage à Federico Garcia Lorca›. Musique raffinée faisant appel à beaucoup de rapidité et de qualités d’interprétation. [...]»

BASLER ZEITUNG

"With incomparable dexterity (Denoth) opens up a world of musical perspectives and the entire history of the guitar on his six strings…..Denoth crowns the kings of music with a potent mix of stage presence,technical virtuosity, fidelity to the music, and original expression."

CLASSICAL SOURCE - review of Wigmore Hall recital

"music was bright and crisp under Denoth’s dextrous fingers" (...) “extremely enjoyable hour’s music"


BUENOS AIRES HERALD

"All was played by Denoth with finely honed professionalism."


PEPE ROMERO (Guitarist) on Christoph’s Carnegie Hall Recital

“His musical and stage presence deeply impressed me. [...] Christoph Denoth combines faithfulness to the original score with a highly expressive and personal interpretation. He has the ability to fathom the depth of the composer’s inspiration and reveal all the mysteries and beauty of the piece."


BASLER ZEITUNG

Das Spektrum der Gitarre

 

Virtuos: Denoth’s Gitarrenspiel vereint traditionsübergreifende Vielfalt mit technischer Brillanz. Mit beispielloser Fingerfertigkeit eröffnet er eine Welt musikalischer Perspektiven und vereintauf seinen sechs Saiten die Geschichte der Gitarre…

Denoth huldigte den Königen der Musik mit einer potenten Mischung aus Bühnenpräsenz, virtuoser Technik, inhaltlicher Treue und origineller Expression.

 

08. Dezember 2010

MARIO DI BONAVENTURA (Conductor, Festival Director and Music Publisher in Los Angeles)

"…Christoph Denoth’s virtuosity on the classical guitar is outstanding and touches people’s minds and hearts and – above all – those of his audience. It is seldom that I can write with such enthusiasm and conviction. He is one of the most accomplished guitarists of his generation…"

ROBERT HUGILL - review of Kings Place concert

"vibrant voice complemented by Denoth's strong (and) (...) moving accompaniment." (...) I very much hope to see them again."


JUAN CARLOS TARIFA, Argentina

"The Guitar on the Highest Level of Musical Expression"

 

FRANCES WILSON - review of BBC Proms Chamber Music at Cadogan Hall

"guitarist Christoph Denoth, whose accompaniment lent a sparse elegance to Gilchrist’s voice, while also recalling the spirit of Chinese lute.

JENS NYGAARD, New York (conductor)

"Christoph Denoth is the best classical guitarplayer I have ever heard"

 

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