last updated: 10 October 2018 (approximate reading time: 2 minutes; 363 words)
When I find myself in conversation about composers, I mention the name Antonio Lauro and am greeted by blank or confused faces. So let me introduce Lauro.
Lauro was a guitarist and composer. He was born in Venezuela in 1917 and died in 1986.
He wrote for the solo guitar: each piece is comparatively short (there are no symphonies or orchestral pieces) and every piece is in ¾ time…but these are no conventional waltzes.
He hasn’t left a huge body of work, but what he has left is remarkable for its detail. Each piece is Swiss watch-like in intricacy requiring precision and skill from the performer to bring out the detail and sparkling jewels.
Here’s a selection of pieces to introduce you to Lauro.
The first piece here is Natalia—also known Vals Venezolano 3.
It’s not unplayable—but it is certainly challenging. It’s also a piece that is subject to interpretation, so here are three versions.
Ana Vidovic (First)
The first interpretation is played by Ana Vidovic.
For this performance, Ana’s tone is warm and the tempo is on the slower side (for this piece).
Nicholas Petrou brings an interpretation which is faster, but his tone is the thinnest of the three renditions here.
Ana Vidovic (Second)
The third interpretation comes from Ana Vidovic. Yes, this is a second interpretation by her (and unfortunately the recording quality is less good for this second interpretation).
This version is the fastest of the three. The speed is less important—but with the speed, there is a greater emphasis on the rhythm (at least to my ear).
Natalia starts at around 1:43. It is proceeded by Andreina (Vals Venezolanos 2) which is also well worth listening to.
Ana Florencía (played by Per-Olov Kindgren)
Moving on from Natalia, Ana Florencía is a delicate lullaby played by Per-Olov Kindgren.
There’s another Lauro piece by Per-Olov in a moment, but follow this link if you want to hear more (non-Lauro compositions) by him.
La Negra (played by Nicholas Petrou)
Here’s another piece played by Nicholas Petrou, La Negra.
El Negrito (played by Per-Olov Kindgren)
And to finish this introduction, another performance by Per-Olov Kindgren: El Negrito.