Now, of course, we are very much in the present and the task in hand is to assess Fabio’s latest performance. The first item that really has to be mentioned is the fact that, due to the increasingly hazardous conditions for transporting guitars internationally, he now relies on instruments already in the country he is visiting. In the past, concert artists could travel with the instrument with which they have built an intimate relationship, but with this no longer being the case, the performer is faced with extra challenges to maintain the highest of standards. Fabio, however, has never been one to shrink from any kind of challenge and his ‘go for it’ reputation was certainly in evidence in the first half. Indeed, Fabio has compared this situation to that faced by pianists, but I think a guitarist's relationship with their instrument is uniquely close.
Fabio devoted the first half of his concert to the music of Spanish composers. The names of Turina & Torroba are already well known in guitar circles, but that of Vicente Arregui (1871-1925) was certainly new to me. When it is noted that his 3 Lyrical Pieces were securely locked away in Andres Segovia’s personal archive until 2001, it begins to become clearer why.
In order of performance, they are titled: Confidencia, Intermezzo and Campesina. I think the title of Confidencia for the first piece was, perhaps, a subliminal message to Fabio himself to help him warm to the instrument only recently introduced to him and it was, as the title suggests, a gently lyrical piece. Intermezzo was a more energetic creation which seems to be resting solely in Fabio’s fingers as no other version can be found on YouTube! Campesina, however, is a different matter, as it was probably the only movement Segovia ever played publicly. Evidence for this, in my opinion at least, is in the central section that rings a Torroba bell in my ears. I believe Torroba had heard this (or even seen the score) as it reeks of his music, although I can’t immediately recall which piece!