Renowned Spanish Maestro dazzled Elkader audiences with his golden Polyphemus.
Francesc de Paula Soler, performed a guitar recital at the Elkader Opera House, November 23, 2007. Known as “The Poet of the Guitar,” and heralded for his rhapsodic abilities he portends to enrapture and capture the soul of his audience with a cosmopolitan musical mix of Spanish and Latin American guitar that spans the eras from contemporary to jazz, swing and be-bop.
True to his word, Francesc entranced the audience with mouth dropping antics for which he received two standing ovations.
As he began his program with Variacones Opus 9, an opera house bat flew over the audience, circled and exited stage right. Creating the very atmosphere Soler was conjuring. If one did not know better it would have seemed that he actually did conjure the bat.
Soler promotes the beliefs of Federico Garcia Lorca, who attributes the guitar to occult powers. Lorca is said to repeatedly return to the image of the guitar in his poetry, to the image of its strings spread out like the arms of Polyphemus, waiting to trap our souls.
“Soler showed himself to be unusually sensitive to color and rhapsodic rise and fall of the phrases.” “He played dazzling solos with his left hand on the fingerboard, unleashed a battery of right-hand percussive effects on the body of the guitar, and engaged in some creative pitch-bending on blues-tinged melodies,” Washington Post.
Soler’s international performances have brought him critical acclaim as one of the most notable names of the guitar world.
He divided his recital into two parts, the first a colorful composition of composers of the Spanish and Latin American guitar. The second part consisted of a panorama of contemporary music. He teased the audience with familiar entries that led into something totally different.
He began with Ferran Sors, followed by a romantic aesthetic Sueno (Dream) by Francisco Tarrega. Sweeping the audience into a dream like state he quickly changed the tempo to a tango-style piece. And so it continued into the second part of the composition. He performed songs from the 1500s through the 1900s combining classic stereotypes of Blues and Rock, with the newest and most surprising effects that can be drawn form the guitar.
A mild mannered man, humble, that seemed to speak very little English and was happy to be referred to as Frances.
He will return to the US for another tour in August, according to his agent.
In his program Soler includes this note:
Riddle of the Guitar by Federico Garcia Lorca.
In the round crossways, six maidens are dancing. Three of flesh and three of silver. Yesterday’s dreams haunt them but they are held embraced by a Golden Polyphemus: The Guitar!