Alberto Mesirca: Chanterelle Guitar Anthology

In Brief

  • Title: The Chanterelle Guitar Anthology
  • Musician: Alberto Mesirca, guitar.
  • Texts and settings: Michael MacMeeken
  • Identification: Edition Chanterelle ECH 2724.
  • Recording: 2018.
  • Edition year: 2019.

Estudio 2 by Sagreras


When I first started playing the guitar, I sometimes got Etudes as a class assignment. For the guitarist these were mostly Etudes from the classical period, Carulli, Carcassi, Sor, Giuliani, Aguado, or study pieces that were part of the chosen method. In this context, many pianists will remember the names Lemoine and Czerny. Stately and almost boring pieces that you had to practice endlessly before they didn’t sound like music after all.

In retrospect, there has been a mistake in my thinking, namely that as a student you have to separate the Etude from the Music. As a logical consequence, the result will never be music.

This bundle The Chanterelle Guitar Anthology restores the correct link between study and music in a convincing manner, in four ways.

First, we have well-finished and commented sheet music. Second, we can read interesting notes on the pieces. Third, we are able to browse biographical information about the composers, the people behind the music. Last but definitely not least we have the opportunity to hear the fantastic demonstration that Alberto Mesirca gives of how you can turn your study into music.

First of all, the scores. Beautiful settings with sophisticated fingerings and excellent pagination. You hardly have to turn pages in the pieces. If it ever happens, it is extremely functional, forming part of the structure of the music. A clear example of this is Segovia’s Estudio Sin Luz, number 40 from this bundle.

The notes to the 40 pieces provide interesting background information about the form and execution of the pieces. They help you with a faithful performance of the music.

For me, the biographies of the composers are usually part of the study of music. The history of the composer and his or her time forms the context for the work of art. Well-written notes were a nice addition to what I already knew about the composers.

The book also has a scientific basis due to the thorough quotation of sources of biographical data and the editions from which the music is derived. This gave me an interesting impression of the world behind the sheet music.

The book comes with a CD with the recordings of all the pieces played by Alberto Mesirca. An extremely valuable addition, a good reason to buy this book alone. Suppose you don’t play the guitar, but you can read scores. Then this book is a valuable experience as a glimpse into the world of guitar music.

Mesirca plays all forty pieces with an excellent musically breathing approach and a great sense of detail, even the smallest nuances get attention. The peace and tranquillity that he brings to the pieces are striking.

Normally with Etudes, I am slightly tempted to increase the pace out of an urge to demonstrate performance. To my great pleasure that does not happen in his performance at all, all virtuosity remains totally in the service of the music.

Above all, Mesirca turns all Etudes and Lessons in this collection to performance music that is also nice for non-guitar players to listen to.

As amateur guitarist, a large number of the pieces are a feast of recognition for me, and the way in which Mesirca plays them also means a reunion with old friends whom I had never recognized as such before.

My advice: Buy the bundle and listen for yourself. I enjoyed it immensely. And the fact that afterwards I can put the music on my desk to play some of it myself, is a rewarding extra that this book provides for me.

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