WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY
OPUS MAGAZINE. David Härenstam :
“Music in its purest form.
Raphaella Smits presents the best of the guitar, summarized in 55 minutes!
There are musicians whose virtuosity is such that one can not help thinking about it. How incredibly skilled they are, how clean and spotless they play. Sharon Isbin and Aniello Desiderio, as I wrote about in previous issues are no doubt two such virtuosos. Then there is another kind of musician who transcends this in the way that one never ever thinks about virtuosity, it is merely a flow of pure musicality. Raphaella Smits is such a musician. Her tone is brilliant and make you think of greats like Julian Bream and John Mills, but her warmth is her own.
The album opens with Manuel Ponce's beautiful tribute to the lutenist Silvius Leopold Weiss. A clear baroque-pastich, but with some unexpectedly fancy elements that in no way belong to the baroque. For some reason she jumps over the Gavotte, but it does not bother me too much. Following are three painfully beautiful and dark pieces of the Paraguayan guitarist Agustín Barrios. The last, Leyenda Guarani, is not even preserved in its entirety but is lovingly completed by Raphaella herself. The disc ends with the distinctly Spanish Suite Compostelana, written to Segovia by Federico Mompou in 1962 but subtly arranged by Raphaella to fit her 8-string guitar.
I also like the idea of a Recital CD. A chance for the artist to pick up and put together the pieces closest to heart. Such a disc will also be very personal and maybe that's what makes you so incredibly touched by this one.
Highlight: Agustín Barrios Mangoré Preludium in C-Moll is given its ultimate performance. Slow, narrative and beautiful. Music in its purest form!”
Gendai Guitar Magazine (translation Masayo Sasao) :
CD review: “Guitar Recital” by Raphaella Smits. (Soundset Recordings SR1084)
"The pieces chosen by Smits are characteristic works by Manuel Ponce, Agustin Barrios and Federico Mompou, that she performs in her very own way.
The Suite by Ponce, which is a homage to S.L. Weiss, she plays loyal to the romance of Ponce but clearly conscious of the Baroque style.
Probably the most interesting part in this disc is Barrios. Smits approaches two Preludes with expressing not just the virtuosity, but emphasizing fully the romanticism of Barrios. She performs Leyenda Guarani as one big story of music.
She completes this recording performing Mompou’s Suite in her own wonderful expression.
All listeners will enjoy and be attracted by the great work of Raphaella Smits. Her fantastic expression provides through the disc a full view of her personality.
CLASSICAL GUITAR, J. Blair :
‘Guitar Recital’ - Raphaella Smits - Soundset Recordings
"When I finally saw Raphaella Smits perform at GFA in the summer of 2016, her skill and passion were very much on display throughout her program, so I should not be surprised that this latest recorded offering is also a rich and deeply felt “recital.”
Just three composers are represented: Manuel Maria Ponce (four of the five movements of his gorgeous homage to Weiss, written for Segovia, with its deep, affecting “Sarabande” and spry, memorable “Gigue”); Barrios (two preludes and the beautifully wistful Leyenda Guarani); and Mompou (his tonally variegated 1962 Suite Compostelana, which seems to be quite popular among players these days).
Everything about this project is completely top-notch; the recording of the late luthier John Gilbert’s 1980 8-string guitar is spectacular!”
Javier Salvador :
"Muchas cosas van a quedar en la casilla de grandes recuerdos de la grabación del disco de Raphaella Smits, pero hay uno de ellos que será imborrable: El momento de la grabación de esta obra …
¡Exaltación espiritual al máximo nivel!
Ni tuve palabras para explicar lo que sentí en el momento de la grabación ni las tengo ahora … Solo se que toca todas las fibras más sutiles de mi ser.
Que afortunado me siento de haber tenido la oportunidad de captar este momento musical que se que como a mí, acariciará el alma de muchas otras personas.
Bravo Raphaella ¡bravo!
If your read this, I speak my heart when I say that this will be the future of music.
A new trend towards, a type of utilitarianism, where virtuosic technique , is necessary, but valued only to the degree that it emphasizes pure emotional expression in the music and not for showcasing or pretention. I believe that you have realized, a new musical paradigm where we are returning to less ego based playing, and more to fully actualize the music's intent of bliss for the listener. After all its about giving to others, a few minutes of heaven in a ruthless world where all beings suffer. Music which has no need to dazzle, but to express.
In other words, your music fuses, the necessary virtuoso technique with great emotional expression. The perfect blend of technique and feeling in playing. And each player can express these levels of emotion in a personal way. Via technique without it being over the top. Few players are doing this. Most want to operate on the dog eat dog, "I am more successful, than you" paradigm. This quest for faster, more dazzling technique, I ask, where will that lead us?
But now, through players like you who have seen the light, we are entering into this age of musical Primitivism. Where the audience, can enjoy as much as the player.
I believe that classical music and instrumental music in general has lost its path. And must return or be lead to this type of playing. Developing the highest technical abilities, to be used only to express an emotional quality.
Like the martial artist who has mastered his art, but only uses what is necessary to overcome, not to go beyond. Both mastery of emotion and of technique to create a higher form of art in music. Welcome!
I say to young players: this is the new standard. Learn your brilliant technique, but employ it as shown here by Ms Smits. With the goal not to be recognized for your dazzling speed and technique, but to employ it for the joy of the listener. As is done here. A perfect example of nearly perfect sharing of music to others. Remember music was invented to give to others, not to give to ego.