Spanish guitarist Margarita Escarpa performed at CSUN’s Music Recital Hall on Sept. 24 as part of the American Guitar Society’s international concert series.
The concert attracted a varied audience, including college students dressed in T-shirts and shorts and an older, more dressed-up crowd. Everyone slowly trickled in and took their seats and the concert began just after 8 p.m.
Escarpa walked gracefully onto the stage while the audience clapped excitedly.
Without a single word she took a seat, waited for the applause to end and, immediately began to play.
She exuded an air of confidence as she held the guitar with confident poise and as her eyes focused on the instrument as she played.
She began by playing a classical piece by Fernando Sor, “Fantasy No. 7, op. 30.”
The piece was both gentle and strong. It was so gentle at times, that there were certain notes that were barely audible.
Her performance was so natural and so beautiful that it appeared as if she had an emotional connection with the guitar.
The music flowed forth with a seemingly effortless appearance in a true cooperation between human and instrument.
The audience was silently enthralled.
Each member focused on her every move, every note, and every chord.
The varieties of sounds emanating from the guitar were in such a variety I had never heard before, yet they sounded so perfect together.
The variations played like a story with different chapters and each new chapter led the audience into another emotional direction.
The first set lasted 10 minutes after which the audience broke into an applause as Escarpa stood up holding her guitar and with a smile bowed to the gracious crowd.
She played with no amplification, no microphones at all. The only sound was the pure beauty of each note from each string as she played.
She gave emphasis to certain parts of the sonatas that followed by swaying slightly back and forth and with a slight tapping of her heal and a nodding of hear head.
The first half of the program lasted over an hour with only slight pauses between songs in which Escarpa tuned her guitar slightly for the next song. The last piece before intermission was “Le Fandango varie” by Dioniso Aguado. This piece was quiet and gentle and it struck as ideal music to study by or to enjoy while unwinding quietly.
As the lights came on the enjoyment of the audience became more apparent. While more subdued than the average rock concert crowd, wide eyes and open mouths gave evidence to how pleased and impressed they were with the performance.
The second half of the concert was equally impressive featuring a number of preludes by Heitor Villa-Lobos. The preludes featured both fast and slow sections all played with amazing control.
The last of the preludes was especially impressive and featured a section of lower notes which gave it a more serious tone.
Her last prepared material consisted of three Venezuelan waltzes which again were executed beautifully.
The crowd was so impressed by what they heard, that when she was finished the applause was impressive in itself.
Margarita left the stage and returned without her guitar to take her final bow before the audience.
The audience responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation, obviously searching for an encore.
As with the rest of the concert they were not disappointed. Escarpa answered back with not one but two amazing encore performances, the last of which made my mouth drop.
A classical guitar concert was not how I had imagined spending my Saturday night, but I was more than impressed. Though it may not be your type of music, anyone with respect for pure musical talent will truly enjoy what Escarpa has to offer.
Michael Salseda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.