Guitar Intersections
Ivan Petricevic (guitar)
rec. 2021, Engelbert-Huperdinck-Musikschule, Siegburg, Germany
Hänssler Classic HC23017 [50]

The pop song from 1992, Save the Best for Last, encapsulated in lyrics and music a phenomenon not uncommonly encountered in everyday endeavour. It was given little credence when Ivan Petricevic formulated the programme for this recording. The first item is the miniature, virtuosic masterpiece by Tarrega, Danza Mora. From the very first measures, Petricevic convincingly establishes himself as a virtuoso guitarist. His rendition will be infrequently matched, and rarely bettered, probably only by the great Venezuelan guitarist Alirio Diaz whose magnificent rendition can be found on Vanguard Classics 08 9194 72 (1993).

The programme comprises music by five Spanish composers and one Venezuelan. Of the former only two are guitarists, but the compositions by non-guitarists, José and Torroba, were written for the guitar. This contrasts with the remaining two which are transcriptions of music by Manuel de Falla. Venezuelan guitarist, Efrain Silva, contributed the original studies which complete the recorded recital.

Ivan Petricevic was born in 1987 in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia. He studied in the class of Ante Cagalj at the Conservatory of Music, ‘Elly Basic’ in Zagreb, Croatia. He continued his studies with Alvaro Pierri, Walter Wurdinger and Roberto Aussel at the University of Music and Performing Arts  in Vienna, Austria and Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany.

Aside from its unique virtues, the guitar suffers from lack of sustain and resultant volume. This has been a perennial challenge for guitarists who have turned to innovative luthiers for design development; others have utilized electronic amplification in concerts, and most have endorsed the use of fingernails to enhance volume and add timbral variety to their playing. That the guitar cannot compare or compete with most concert instruments in this consideration, remains an ongoing challenge.

Making immediate impact is the volume the guitarist appears to be extracting from his instrument. Recording techniques can create such an illusion; however, listening to his live performances on social media, replicates this strong impression, again not discounting the potential effect of electronic intervention.

No mention is made of the instrument used in this CD. There are examples on social media where Petricevic is playing a double-top instrument by Dieter Muller, and this has physical resemblances to the one pictured in the CD liner notes. The double- top is another innovation to positively affect the volume of which the instrument is capable. However, it is the technical capabilities of the player that explores and takes full advantage the intrinsic characteristics of the instrument. In combination, it may explain why this player gives the impression of a ‘big sound.’

Petricevic is another guitarist from the younger generation of players who does not fail to impress. His refined technique and seeming ability to make a relatively restrained instrument sound rather loud and impressive, without losing refinement of sound, is a true virtue for a concert guitarist

Zane Turner

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Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909)
Danza Mora
Antonio José (1902-1936)
Manuel de Falla (1878-1946)
Romance del pescador
Cancion del fuego fatuo
Federico Moreno Torroba (1891-1982)
Suite Castellana
Emilio Pujol (1886-1980)
Efrain Silva (b.1952)
Three Studies