ALEJANDRO HURTADO: "Maestros del Arte clásico flamenco" (Maestros de l´art classique du flamenco)
Alejandro Hurtado leaves us in this recording his magnificent versions of two of the great masters of flamenco guitar: Ramón Montoya and Manolo de Huelva. But in addition to his exceptional way of interpreting this music, this recording provides us with another interesting document: for the first time we will be able to listen to the original instruments that these two guitarists used during most of their career with the quality that today's recording systems allow.
These are two exceptional instruments, built by Santos Hernández in 1916 (in the workshop of the widow of Manuel Ramírez) the one of Montoya and in 1937 the one of Manolo de Huelva. Both guitars have been the property of the Zayas family since the death of their respective owners, and this is the first time that their use has been authorized for a recording.
Alejandro has selected five pieces from each of the composers; from Montoya, he performs five of his most interesting compositions, including his famous Rondeña, of which he leaves us an incomparable version. In the case of Manolo de Huelva, a guitarist who always refused to perform solo, and only conceived the flamenco guitar as an accompanying instrument, Hurtado has made his own selection of different "falsetas", which he has combined to give shape to five of the most classic flamenco styles (Soleares, seguirías, alegrías, serrana and bulerías), which he presents to us as true concert pieces.
Only a guitarist with the sensitivity and technique of Alejandro Hurtado, qualities to which we must add his deep knowledge of the repertoire of the classics of flamenco guitar, can manage to rescue the touches of these two guitarists, respecting the style of each one while adapting to the characteristics of each of the guitars, but without ceasing to contribute his personal way of understanding the music.
In the mid 1930's Marius de Zayas decided to support Ramón Montoya, producing a series of recordings, as well as promoting his artistic career. In a similar way he behaved with Manolo de Huelva, of whom he recorded a historic video accompanying "La Argentinita" in the dance. His wife, Virginia Randolph Harrison, worked for years hand in hand with Manolo de Huelva, transcribing into musical notation all of the falsetas of the brilliant musician from Huelva.
The relationship with the Zayas family continued until the death of both artists. This explains why their instruments became the property of the Zayas family. After the death of Marius, the instruments were left in the care of his son, Rodrigo de Zayas, who has kept them in perfect condition until the present day. Possibly one of the reasons for this magnificent state of preservation is the love and care with which they have been treated, as well as the level of protection they have always maintained. The instruments have rarely left their home, and have hardly been played by other guitarists in all this time, for fear that they might be damaged.
Undoubtedly, it has been necessary the appearance of a person with such a special talent as Alejandro Hurtado, so that after so many decades the owners of the instruments would authorize their use for a recording. Alejandro approached the Zayas' archive not in search of the guitars, but with the intention of finding music by Manolo de Huelva, knowing that the transcriptions of his falsetas were kept there. After several visits, and after listening to Alejandro play, both Rodrigo de Zayas and his wife Anne appreciated the enormous talent of this young guitarist, as well as his human qualities. Thus it was they themselves who offered him the possibility of using the instruments for a recording.
From the moment Alejandro received this offer, he began to work intensely, and after only 52 days -of which only two were to make contact with the original instruments- in which he designed and prepared the pieces to be recorded, he entered the recording studio. Aware that the instruments could not be out of the Zayas' house for long, in just two days he recorded the 10 pieces included in this album, some of which can be heard recorded in one take, without any kind of editing, just as it was done in the days of Montoya and Manolo de Huelva. The result is the magnificent work that you have in your hands today.
Being involved in this project has put Rodrigo de Zayas in a position to repeat what his father did almost a century before: to facilitate the recording of this album that allows us to listen to the music of these two great pillars of the flamenco guitar, on historical instruments, but with the sound quality that modern recording systems allow. Alejandro Hurtado leaves us with versions that, while remaining faithful to the style and way of playing of the two great masters, provide us with his personal vision of the music. Although what he intends, from the humility that characterizes the great artists, is that the new generations return to listen and value the music of the old masters as much as he does.