Review of MAKrotonal
The new album MAKrotonal features early music in historic temperaments and new music of ethnic origin. The album deals with microtonal re-tunings of classically fretted guitar and re-fretted guitars in music ranging from spectral to world-music. It also premieres newly commissioned works that explore notes that have never been heard on the guitar before.
MAKrotonal was created in collaboration with John Schneider, Grammy Awards winning musician and Scott Fraser, producer and engineer extraordinaire for Kronos Quartet.
We are delighted to share a very good review of the new album (https://www.classicstoday.com/review/mak-grgics-microtonal-guitar-recital/):
Mak Grgic’s Microtonal Guitar Recital
Review by: Jed Distler (Classics Today)
As far as recordings go, guitarist Mak Grgic seems to wear several hats; his Cinema Verismo, for example, was a carefully thought out and artfully executed “crossover” program devoted to music from the movies. On the other hand, the four substantial compositions included in the present release testify to Grgic’s passion for contemporary classical music.
Grgic mostly intersperses these pieces with ravishingly interpreted short pieces by Renaissance lutenist/composer Francesco da Milano, and concludes his program with the Bach D minor Chaconne in Andres Segovia’s classic 1935 transcription. Grgic features five different guitars throughout the recital, employing different temperaments from work to work, just in case you think he forgot to tune up! Grgic’s excellent booklet notes both identify and spell out the specifics for each tuning.
On to the music: Georgi Dimitrov’s Sub Rosa begins with a leisurely movement laced with sparse lyrical lines and strategic harmonics. The second movement is quicker, gaunter, and more angular, yet ultimately falls back into gentle lyricism and a soft concluding G major chord. Alternating slow and fast movements comprise Sean Hayward’s Through the Fog. Its attractions include some lovely microtonal ostinatos, single-line toccata-like passages in uneven meter, and flamenco-inspired strumming. John Schneider’s Prelude & Fugato is methodical and well made, although I find the contrapuntal style too arid for my taste. However, the textural and dynamic contrasts throughout Hakki Cengiz Eren’s Three Portals hold sustained interest, especially in the final piece’s brash dissonant dyads and tension-filled silences. The Bach stands out for Grgic’s fluid tempo relationships, plus his ability to shape melodic and harmonic strands in clear and colorful perspective. In short, a stimulating program that ought to attract listeners beyond just guitar specialists and temperament mavens.