Maestro series: Justyna Sobczak

In Brief

  • Title: Maestro Series: Justyna Sobczak
  • Musician: Justyna Sobczak, guitar.
  • Identification: Samsong Productions SAMCD032.
  • Recording: 2015.
  • Edition year: 2016.

Reflections by Annette Kruisbrink


The Polish guitarist Justyna Sobczak (* 1988) was the winner of the guitar competition at the Guitar Festival Nordhorn in 2013. I still remember the excellent Hommage a Chopin by Tansman that she played there. This CD recording was part of the first prize.

The CD is a mix of classical work (Ponce, De Falla, Mertz) and contemporary repertoire (Ohana, Haug and Kruisbrink).

Three Preludes by Manuel Ponce, the numbers 1, 6 and 24, form a reunion with old friends. Sobczak plays the first two modestly, the third gets more passion.

The Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Debussy by Manuel de Falla is a piece full of subdued tension in apparent calmness. I can hear that tension, but it is not as powerful as Sabrina Vlaskalic did play it in her version.

Johann Kaspar Mertz’s Liebeslied brings me to Romanticism literally and figuratively. In this piece Sobczak combines tranquillity and passion and plays the pulse of the piece unhindered by all technical and thematic challenges. That is nice listening.

The Tiento by Maurice Ohana looks like a modern version of La Folia. The sound impression is interesting and Sobczak takes good care not to overstress the guitar with all dissonants.

Hans Haug’s Prelude, Tiento and Toccata is a contemporary piece that fits well. That makes the Tiento a pleasant listening piece. Sobczak keeps the performance bright and the voicing clear, which is very pleasant for a listening audience.

For years, Annette Kruisbrink has been writing a composition for the winner of the guitar competition at the Guitar Festival Nordhorn. In the composition she incorporates her impression of the finalist’s play and sometimes mimicks the sound of pieces that we have heard in the finals. In this way, Reflexions has almost become a reminder of that Sunday afternoon in April 2013. Sobczak does justice to this sound-rich and technically difficult reflection.

The recording itself is fairly intimate, no superfluous reverb, so the sound image remains clear. That definitely contributes to the way the pieces land with me.

To summarize: An interesting recording in which I could also listen to the beautiful and pleasant sides of contemporary guitar music.

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