Summary For The Busy Executive: Cobo’s “Walking on the Water”

» 02 July 2008 » In Reviews » No Comments

During the Sixties, my sister saved up her pennies to buy a serious guitar, so I had the opportunity to hear a beginning student close up. Recently, she’s gone back to playing after a good number of years and after findingout her guitar is now worth a small car. Anyway, I love the sound of theacoustic guitar, due in part to the folk-music craze of my youth, in part tothe artistry of Julian Bream and the Romeros.

The guitar – at least if the player picks, rather than strums – always struck me as temperamental an instrument as the french horn, even under thehands of a decent executant. The little inadvertent scoops and slides made by fingers riding the strings too closely on the freeboard as they move from note to note or the sharp little thud of a note picked but not sounded or the accidental buzz of a note due to God knows what are just the usual pitfalls. It’s an instrument that loves to point out its owner’s deficiencies. Furthermore, many classical players seem to lose rhythm in harder passages, as well as clarity. Seldom do you find a player able to consistently deliver not only notes, but music.

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Fanfare Magazine: Brouwer Concerti 3 & 4

» 02 July 2008 » In Reviews » No Comments

This release demonstrates great courage on the parts of the guitarist and the conductor. Both concertos have been previously recorded-No. 3 by its dedicatee, Julian Bream (Currently available on BMG 09026-61605) [DDD] Nos. 3 and 4 by L. de Angelis (Quadrivium SCA 020). In both cases the composer conducts. I have been unable to locate a copy of the Quadrivium release. In Bream’s performance of No. 3, Brouwer acquits himself as a competent and generally authoritative podium maestro at the helm of a pickup band dubbed the RCA Victor Chamber Orchestra, and the whole enterprise has been nicely recorded by the veteran producer James Burnett (with engineering by Bob Auger).

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Soundboard Magazine

» 02 July 2008 » In Reviews » No Comments

Ricardo Cobo plays these brilliant but grueling scores with the insouciant flair of a master, a title which he has clearly earned in just a few decades of life. These two stunning additions to the concerto repertoire were written for Bream and Williams respectively, and beautifully explore both the techniques and aesthetics of those well-known personalities. Cobo makes them his own, however, and even out-Breams Bream, whose premiere recording of the piece (RCA7718-RC1988) is woefully misbalanced, in spite of the composer’s superb conducting and valiant soloing on the part of the dedicatee.

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Fanfare Magazine

» 02 July 2008 » In Reviews » No Comments

When much of Piazzolla’s music is performed on the classical guitar it both loses and gains something in transition. La Muerte del Angel, when played by Piazzolla’s own quintet (Ermitage ERM 124), is redolent with highly appealing ethnic grunge. One hears five very accomplished and serious musicians who seem hell-bent on appearing to be just the opposite, as if to say simultaneously, “Ha! And you thought this was all just mere entertainment!” and “Ha! And you thought this was just all mere fine art!”

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“Whoops and roars” at a …Classical guitar concert?

» 23 April 2008 » In Reviews » No Comments

At the intermission of the April 23 classical guitar concert featuring Ricardo Cobo and Christopher McGuire at UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall, I overheard two different groups of friends jokingly refer to their hanging out between acts as “tailgating.” It made me laugh, then think. Classical guitar in Las Vegas? Of course, there is no cultural reference point for this in a city of clubs, neon and millionaire productions. So Las Vegans at such an event must import concepts from that world to make sense of what they’re seeing and hearing.

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The Washington Post

» 25 July 2006 » In Reviews » No Comments

The Colombian guitarist Ricardo Cobo may be one of the finest guitarists of our time — certainly he’s a first-rank interpreter of Latin American music, as he showed in the tango-flavored second half of Saturday’s program. From the driving “Acrilicos en Asfalto,” by Eduardo Martin, to smoky cafe music from Horacio Salgán and the classic “La Muerte del Angel,” by Astor Piazzolla, Cobo has the smoldering sensuality of Latin music deep in his blood, and played with heart-clenching passion.

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American Record Guide. Spring 2004

» 01 April 2004 » In Reviews » No Comments

It was initially hard for me to muster enthusiasm for yet another potpourri of Latin American guitar miniatures. But when the guitarist is Ricardo Cobo it doesn’t much matter that there is a glut of such releases. The Colombian-born Cobo, a winner of several international competitions in the late 80s, is a world-class talent, possessed of stunning technique, penetrating musicianship, and a beautifully refined sound. I cannot imagine more satisfying or engaging interpretations of this music; his readings are incisive and vigorous in the fast pieces, dark and soulful in the more contemplative works, and every phrase is shaped by an impeccable musical instinct.

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San Antonio Express-News

» 22 October 2000 » In Reviews » No Comments

The guitar world enjoyed a love fest Friday night when Cuba’s Leo Brouwer, the most revered living composer for the instrument, conducted his own “Toronto” Concerto and other works for the Southwest Guitar Festival. Travis Park United Methodist Church was nearly filled with about 1,000 listeners, including locals and registrants for the Guitar Foundation of America’s international convention, which ran concurrently with the festival.

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Soundboard Magazine: Cobo’s Brouwer Vol I

» 15 October 1999 » In Reviews » No Comments

The several times I have seen Ricardo Cobo perform, I have been very impressed by his combination of facility, musicality and intensity. All these characteristics are abundantly present on this fine disc. Every selection is carefully and convincingly rendered down to the last note. In the “Etudes Simples”, for example, he can be lyrical and tender, or fiery, according to the needs of each study. In his performance of his “Danza Característica,” articulation and a wide dynamic range are combined to craft a powerful interpretation.

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Los Angeles Times: Cobo, Guitar Duo Show Rare Prowess

» 01 July 1996 » In Reviews » No Comments

Setting-and raising-standards for students and public alike is part of what programs such as CSU Summer Arts is all about. Today at Cal State Long Beach’s Daniel Recital Hall, the guitar and lute faculty continued to do its part, with fresh, highly effective performances from Ricardo Cobo and the Newman and Oltman Guitar Duo.

Indeed, Cobo set the bar so high that despair must have been as much a part of the package as inspiration for the students in the audience. Armed with a cup of coffee as well as his guitar, Cobo strode onstage clearly ready to melt nylon and mesmerize listeners. By way of unscheduled introduction, he offered a movement from Leo Brouwer’s tricky “Decameron Negro” and then delivered a pair of Astor Piazzolla tangos with rare definition and’ characterful nuance.

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