Review: Theorbo and Baroque guitar recital 

Xavier Diaz-Latorre performs 17th-century music

click to enlarge Xavier Diaz-Latorre
  • Xavier Diaz-Latorre

Music for Kings and Commoners was the theme for Friday's Indianapolis Early Music program. What was unusual about it was that it featured a solo performer--Xavier Diaz-Latorre--the first program to do so since Mark Cudec took over the festival as artistic director in 2008. The theorbo and Baroque guitar were Latorre's chosen instruments, his music drawn from 17th-century composers. A feeling of intimacy pervaded with the stage lit only by two table lamps on either side of our performer, who sat while he played (all from memory). The first three selectons were for the solo, lanky theorbo while the final four were with guitar.

Latorre opened his program with the Suite for Theorbo in A Minor, titled La Royalle, by Robert de Visée, featuring the courtly dance music of the era of King Louis XIV: "Prélude," "Allemande," "Courante," "Sarabande," "Masquerade," and "Chaconne." All six dances came across as being somewhat dour and introverted, with repetitive phrases. The style created an early glimpse of minimalism, making me lose concentration."

The ensuing Visée Suite for Theorbo in C Minor (La Plainte) offered only two dances: a "Prelude" and the "Allemande pour la mort de Miles. De Visée." Strangely, Latorre sprang to life in the "Allemande,"recapturing my attention as Latorre picked and strummed with great intricacy, staying close to C minor throughout.

Greater energy prevailed within Latorre's four guitar pieces contributed by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710) and Francisco Guerau (1659-1732).

No matter the energy level wrought by the selections, Latorre showed a complete mastery of the program's seven pieces. June 24

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