Maestro series: Jacob Bangso

In Brief

  • Title: Maestro Series: Jakob Bangsø
  • Musician: Jakob Bangsø, guitar.
  • Identification: Samsong Productions SAMCD035.
  • Recording: 2015.
  • Edition year: 2016.

Valseana by Sergio Assad


The Danish guitarist Jakob Bangsø (* 1988) was a participant at the competitions of the Twente Guitar Festival and Guitar Festival Nordhorn in 2012 and 2014. In 2014 he won the competition in Nordhorn and this recording was part of the main prize.

On this CD, Bangsø brings a relatively contemporary program, Tres Piezas Espanolas by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901 – 1999), Aquarelle by Sergio Assad (* 1952), Sonata Op. 47 by Alberto Ginastera (1916 – 1983) and Toccata by Annette Kruisbrink (* 1958).

Bangsø brings the well-known Tres Piezas, a considerable technical achievement, neatly into the spotlight. The finish is great, the dynamics could have had some more. These pieces are on the program with many guitarists, so comparison is almost automatically lurking and particularly in live performances I have heard more exiting dynamics.

Aquarelle by Assad gets more body and definition by Bangsø than the Tres Piezas. The swing in Divertimento shines through pleasantly and the tempi have a pleasantly natural approach. Valseana comes as a pleasant moment of relaxation. Preludio e toccatina has strong moments, yet at times fades slightly due to the acoustics of the recording.

Sonata Op. 47 by Ginastera is a frequently heard piece at the competitions that I have seen since 2006. It took some getting used to in the beginning, but gradually I got more and more details and also a better opinion about how I like to hear the piece in all its colours.

In this piece I heard the contrast between hearing it in the live performance and listening to a recording. The recording falls slightly short of the live experience. That does not alter the fact that Bangsø is delivering a good performance, yet his live performance with this piece at the finals of the Nordhorn competition in 2014 surpasses this recording.

Toccata by Annette Kruisbrink, if I am not mistaken the prize-composition for Jacob Bangsø’s first place on Nordhorn, clearly builds on the Sonata by Ginastera. I know that on this occasion Annette Kruisbrink based her compositions on the performance of the player, which indicates that Bangsø’s Sonata in that competition was the winning piece indeed.

All in all, I hear a guitarist on this recording who plays flawlessly and perfectly finished and, in Aquarelle in particular, communicates the message well.

I was surprised to read on the cover that the recordings were not made in the studio in Nordhorn. Instead, it was made in the church of Dråby just north of Ebeltoft in Jutland. Indeed, a classic Danish country church with a beautiful interior. With the disadvantage of a certain distance in the recording, everything seems a bit further away. That turned out to be a disadvantage for the intimacy of this recording.

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