Flavio Cucchi - Reviews

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Crossing Over
cd cover with Elena Roggero, vocalist & Stefano Agostini, flautist

The CD starts with a name that is becoming more familiar to classical guitarists, Ralph Towner. I originally know of Towner's compositional and performing work through the pure music achievements of the acoustic group Oregon where he played mostly 12 string guitar. The music of this group is hard to describe; compositional, improvisational, pan cultural, genre defying and most of all thick in meaningfulness and invention.
The Suite for Guitar consists of three movements: Mevlana Etude, Caminata and The Juggler's Etude.

Simple in formal construction and beautifully crafted these three pieces are extremely focused on a style of guitar that is truly a blended. The first two are short but long enough to work out the balancing of a ostanato voice through change.

The first and third are fast and have very difficult moments. You wouldn't know know it to hear Flavio play it. His command of the instrument is such that he can take the pieces to new levels of expression.

Nuccio D'Angelo is another brilliant composer from Italy. The Electric Suite, dedicated to Flavio Cucchi, in four movements: Funky, Soft, Raga Blues and Song, are Nuccio's past experiences on improvising electric guitar explained on the classical guitar in a language that is more in keeping with the abstract nature of composition.

Funky and Soft have extremely integrated body percussion.

Funky is a sort of fusion rock piece that has the menacing theme. The feel of Mahavishnu Orchestra's Birds of Fire come to mind. Percussion and backtones are very forceful and the inner voices are clustered together.

Soft has a 3 against 6 Latin feel and the integrated body percussion that keeps time and returns as a head between improvisory passages over the main progression.

Raga Blues is just what the name implies. Song was the most complex formally and had the most rigorous statistic of change set up. The recording had some unusual stereo and room effects.

The first two movements of Electric Suite require an very concise understanding of contemporary guitar. Flavio's interpretation, I'll guess, was aided by an association with the composer. No difference. This has to be one of the most exciting moments on the CD and possibly in contemporary guitar itself. Thank you gentlemen for this contribution!

Anthony Sidney dedicated Changing Shadow to Flavio and the piece is a collection of snippets of the stylistic components of guitar and music ranging from Satie to Yes. It is very arresting in lyricism.

Little David for voice and guitar brings the amazing talents of vocalist Elena Roggero. The piece was written for soprano and guitar but in keeping with the flavor of the CD Flavio made the decision to use a jazz vocalist which is another great moment on this CD. The falsetto and guitar are made for each other and this song may be the only classic example in a small genre.

The CD ends with Historie de Tango by Astor Piazzola with flautist Stefano Agostini.

Although the playing is first rate and it is great to listen to nothing in it cracks me up like the last movement, Concert d'aujourd'hui. This is the piece from it that is truly in keeping with the rest of the CD and played with demonic edge by the two.

I don't give five stars because I don't have any stars laying around and I'd have to go in a graphics program. All I can say is the highest recomendation. Flavio is a stunning guitarist that will get a composition from me when I get off of my butt.

Flavio is one of those rare guitarists that expresses music in a way that leaves you breathless and not concious of the enormous technique that he has. The beauty of his playing is very uncommon and as he is a member of that small club of guitarists in the world that a composer wishes he had at their full time disposal.

Larry Cooperman, ARC Music

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