Enrique Flores

Date: 14 August 2003 at 11.00pm
: Studio 16, 1545 W. 7th Avenue

Reviewer: John Jane





The classical guitar is hardly the force it was in the nineteen-seventies, when it was the instrument of choice of everyone who wanted to play classical music. Those all too few virtuoso guitarists who have endured, promote it's cause enthusiastically. The fact that Señor Enrique Flores is one such exponent was much in evidence at this recital.

With his custom made 10-string guitar, the Guadalajaran native enthralled a near-capacity late night crowd at the hundred seat Studio 16 last Friday evening. He greeted the audience in his imperfect, yet charming English, and appeared genuinely joyed at performing in Canada for the first time.

The first half of the recital was entirely given to Mediæval and Renaissance compositions, both transcribed and original versions. Flores started with his own transcribed short passage of Susato’s 1551 arrangement of Pavana - la Batalla and immediately demonstrated the naturally delicate harmonics of the 10-string guitar - an instrument which requires to be touched lightly.

Additional to the published programme, Dance of the Washerwoman, is a piece from about 400 years ago. The way Maestro Flores played it, I imagined a cleaning lady with great energy that can't wait to get her job done!

Flores brought us to the end of the first half with Variacones sobre un tema de Mozart, (Variations on a theme for Mozart) composed by the distinguished Spanish guitarist Fernando Sor. He played the selection with rhythmic buoyancy and flexibility, holding the audience’s close attention.

After the interval it was the turn of the modern composers, that began with the Heitor Villa-Lobos free flowing work Preludio #1 y estudio (Study in Prelude No.1). The Virtuoso’s execution was lucid, displaying passion and musical intelligence for Villa-Lobos’ work.

The programme concluded with the atmospheric Canción y Danza by Antonio Ruiz Pipo. A Mediterranean flavoured piece requiring exceptional dexterity that brought Flores to a high point of 'guitarismo’. The influence of Narciso Yepes was unmistakable, and the guitarist paid due homage to his former mentor with a tribute encore Romance.

Maestro Flores offered clear interpretations and played with good audibility, allowing his audience to appreciate the subtleties of each work as well as exalting the musical ornamentation. Bravissimo!.

© 2003, John Jane