When one hears the term ‘Flamenco guitar’, what pops up in imagination is fierce virtuoso playing. But that’s not all there is to it. There’s a stateliness in its gentler phrasing, an expression of dignified emotion in its silences interspersed with single, clear notes. And when the Flamenco guitar in that mood combines with the warmth of the cello, a music most sublime is created.
Pedro Soler is a 70+ year old master of the Flamenco guitar. His son, Gaspar Claus, trained to play the cello in its Western classical form, but went on to explore other venues of expressing musical ideas. I was introduced to their collaboration on 2011’s ‘Barlande’ by an NPR podcast. Mesmerised, I bought the CD from Amazon. And since the time I received it, I’ve played it and played it and played it – each time finding something new to savor. The measured and mellow tone of age and tradition melds beautifully with the freshness and experimental thrust of youth. In each of the eight pieces on the album, you can sense the mutual affection and respect of father and son. The samples in the audio file below from ‘Insomnio Mineral’ (0-80 sec.), ‘Barlande’ (81-150 sec.), ‘Caballitos De Mar’ (151-215 sec.) and ‘Encuentro En Brooklyn’ (featuring Sufjan Stevens on the harmonium and Bryce Dessner of The National – this album was recorded by Dessner at The National studio. 216 sec. to end) can only give you a brief sense of all that.
Every time I hear it, I pass through rare moments of wishing I had a child. Then the record ends, the magic fades, I look at the world around me and the moment passes.