Read More » Composers Gather for Guitar Premieres
From: The Boston Music Intelligencer
Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitarist, a faculty member of Boston Conservatory, gave a free recital there Friday, which although casual, had the unique distinction of gathering in one place an extraordinary number of published composers for more world and regional compositional premieres than most guitar audiences have ever witnessed.
Larget-Caplan opened his second half with the entire Bach Suite in E Minor, BWV 996; standard classical guitar repertoire which he performed with elegant precision. This was followed by his exquisite guitar arrangement of John Cage’s Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard (1950). Beautifully played by violinist Sharon Leventhal, of all the pieces on the program, it was Cage’s asymmetrical, leaning, off-foot rhythm and tonal but muted sonority and dynamics through the substitution of guitar that most effectively rocked the listener into quiet transcendence reminiscent of a lullaby.
Read More » GBHC - Interwoven Words and Music - Captivating the Listeners
Calling itself a “Reading-Recital,” the duo of Glenn Kurtz (reader) and Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitarist) staged a great performance at the thirteenth Greater Boston House Concert.
Himself a guitarist who gave up the classical guitar, then returned to it ten years later, Glenn wrote "Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music" in 2007.
He describes it as a book not consisting of bad poetry about music but a poetic book about the practice of music. His book was likened to a musical composition in word form.
Read More » Fanfare Feature Article
I’m convinced that your enthusiasm and virtuosity will entice listeners both old and young to experience that magic for themselves
During the past four years, guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan has become an expert in lullabies, not because he’s an insomniac in search of a good night’s sleep, but by immersing himself in contemporary versions of this beloved bedtime ritual. He has commissioned and performed more than 20 and recorded 14 on his recent CD, New Lullaby. Not every composer who answered Aaron’s call to write a lullaby responded with gentle, soothing music; a few addressed the anxieties that sometimes accompany our nightly visits to slumber land.
Read More » Aaron Larget-Caplan: Building a Career through Talent and Savy (article)
Interview by Melissa Eddy, Mu Theta, International Editor
Classical guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan (Beta, Boston Alumni) began learning clarinet in the fourth grade. He took up electric guitar at age eleven, playing in jazz and rock bands and learning from cassette tapes of Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osborne, and other iconic bands.
He dabbled in classical, following the example of Osborne's guitarist, but it was only when he saw Andres Segovia play, in a video during sophomore Spanish class, that he was smitten. He began private classical guitar study at sixteen and at seventeen made his debut at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado, playing with his teacher.
Read More » A Spanish Evening in Review
From the Upham's Corner News Blog, August 4, 2011
Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan played to a full house for the second of the Greater Boston House Concerts series. His technique and interpretation are superb. As much as the music could be considered one genre – Spanish – each selection introduced us to yet another musical style and method for using the guitar as a music generating instrument.
Everyone in attendance had their favorite pieces and for this writer Recuerdos de la Alhambra was that. The artist infused his playing with such subtle interpretations as to make “your heart stop.” The evening’s selection of music has yet to be recorded but we, the listeners, would surely scarf up the CD’s in no time were he to do that.
Read More » Mi Tango by Hayg Boyadjian – CD Review by Barnaby Rayfield
Fanfare Magazine - Mar/Apr, 2011
Hayg Boyadjian: Vientos
If Vientos (Winds) represents the idea of Hayg Boyadjian’s diverse musical influences being “blown” together, then it was wisely chosen as the title track on a disc where throughout, the 72-year-old French-Armenian composer is acutely aware of his surroundings and homelands, and the possibilities that they bring up for musical invention. Aside from nature’s forces, three of his pieces here take their inspiration and motifs from astronomy, while with his song cycle De Profundis he tackles the ancestral tragedy of the Armenian genocide of 1915. These works of constellations, elements, and tragedy were written between 2003 and 2009, dedicated to specific musicians, some of whom perform on this disc.
The busy Cassiopeia makes for a forthright opening, as the five-note “W” figure (the Cassiopeia constellation as mapped out on the stave) is passed from player to player, woven cleverly into the score. Although dedicated to a clarinetist, it is a very even-handed chamber piece, switching from acidic humor to a mournful, empty conclusion, and it is noticeable how much of Boyadjian’s French heritage shines through in the splashy piano writing and spikiness.
After such primary colors, Mi Tango’s introspection comes as a shock. Stunningly played by Aaron Larget-Caplan, this solo guitar piece is an energetic homage to Piazzolla’s modern tango style, although there are many innovations of rhythm and sound effects from Boyadjian. Despite being unpredictable in tone, this is arguably the most accessible track here. Then comes a return to astronomy, this time notating the six main stars of Perseus, which are then set to chords in intervals of thirds and sixths. This mathematically intricate little piece’s chief delight is not so much its structure but its texture, scored as it is for cello and flute, a lovely pairing of sinew and sugar. There is nothing sweet, though, about De Profundis, a chilling, mainly tonal cycle of three German poems, Trakl’s De Profundis and Menschheit, then Rilke’s Der Tod eines Dichters. Written for soprano Gayane Geghamyan, the singer here, Boyadjian’s allusion to the Armenian massacre is rather abstract, although that hardly matters with such expressive settings of these morbid texts. Geghamyan sings with great drama and a very full, dark tone, not beautiful but certainly striking, but the price to pay is cloudy diction. Her voice is so dark, I honestly thought she was an alto until I saw what roles she sings.
Moving on from such chilly morbidity, Vientos is an evocative, frenzied work, pairing the Mediterranean heat of the mandolin and guitar with the starker insistent violin writing, making moments of drama and unease gradually subside into a more optimistic feel. This twisty, delightful score is played with real gusto by Duo 46, confidently fusing all the stylistic elements that Boyadjian throws together.
The final and most substantial track, Pleiades, is another Rubik’s Cube of a work, taking the constellation’s pattern of five main stars and two smaller ones as a template, with five performers working with two motifs of five and seven notes. What appeals more than the structure is again Boyadjian’s ear for texture. The folk writing for two flutes (one a specially adapted native American flute) never cloys, especially when he tempers their bright shimmer with the astringency of viola and cello, with the added color of marimba, creating an ethereal, nocturnal world. It is a very different mood from De Profundis or Vientos and, as with every work here, there’s a profusion of ideas and color. In fact, in the end it is hard to see what singly defines his music, aside from repeated motifs and matters of the universe.
The trouble is that there is something for everyone, from the tour-de-force instrumental showpiece to the inward-looking and forbidding song cycle, so that the disc does not work that well as a single program. Each piece is very rewarding and Boyadjian has an ingenious love of structure and logic throughout these very disparate works, but I would still recommend you dip in and out. Albany has done this intriguing composer proud with excellent notes and translations and bright no-nonsense sound.
Read More » Larget-Caplan Doing Everything Right (solo recital)
Boston Musical Intelligencer, January 8, 2011
Some thirty markedly enthused people gathered on Friday, January 7, at the small recital room at New School of Music in Cambridge to hear guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan in a program that mixed well known and unknown pieces and composers. Larget-Caplan is in the beginning stages of what promise to be a good career. He’s doing everything right — making interesting CDs, commissioning and performing both classical and Spanish and Latin American music, often with a dancer, and playing very well.
Dressed all in black with a red tie, Larget-Caplan opened his program with J.S. Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-Flat Major, BWV 998, originally titled Compositionen für die Laute, in E flat. Written at the time of Bach’s lute suites, it was probably performed on a lute-harpsichord. The fugue is longer than the other two movements combined, and like most Bach fugues, presents traps that can be most disheartening. As many performers know, opening with Bach may be great for the audience, but is always better if one had already rid oneself of nerves. Larget-Caplan, who played it in D Major, got through it with grace.
From the Quatre Pièces Brèves by Frank Martin (1890-1974) on, Larget-Caplan seemed more at ease (who wouldn’t be after performing a Bach fugue?) and his playing immediately became far more interesting and colorful. The program notes explained that these four lovely pieces were written in 1933 for guitarist Andrés Segovia who refused to play it (another idol goes up in flames). Martin then re-scored it for piano, calling it Guitarre. Kevin Siegfried’s (b. 1969) “Tracing a Wheel on Water” was commissioned by Larget-Caplan in 2003 and has had spectacular and deserved success since then. According to the program notes, it has been performed in over 50 concerts and is the title of one of Larget-Caplan’s CDs. It’s a hypnotic work, what the composer says “is a meditation on my experiences of the water’s surface… a manner in which flowing circles on the water’s surface envelop one another in a rhythm that is always new, yet never changing.” This hypnotic and beautifully written work was, for me, the highlight of a really interesting concert.
Elegie für die guitarre by J.K. Mertz (1806-1856) was, in guitar terms, a long piece, about ten minutes. A piece of great charm, it was just the right thing for a nasty January evening. At least two heads in the audience were contentedly bobbing along the whole piece; people seemed to be entering a state of total relaxation.
If so, they were awakened in the most seductive manner with the ever-famous Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999), here performed with piano accompaniment. Do most people know him for any other piece? This is yet another piece Segovia refused to play, as he did not approve of the rasqueados (flamenco strumming) of the first movement. I admit, I did not look forward to hearing this colorful orchestral accompaniment in a keyboard reduction, as piano and plucked strings (harp and guitar) need a pianistic wizard to get the balance right. Luckily, Larget-Caplan had a terrific pianist, Kai-Ching Chang, about whom I cannot rave enough. The two musicians played superbly together, so the two (first and second) movements they played were like the most exciting of chamber music pieces. Chang might not be well known in Boston, but as a collaborative pianist she cannot be beat. The Rodrigo was full of excitement and passion; I felt as if I were transported to Seville. I’d hear it again in a heartbeat.
I have a new way of scoring concerts. 1), Would I see the performer or group again? Absolutely. 2), Did I like the evening enough to shell out hard cash for a CD? Reader, I bought two.
Susan Miron is a book critic, essayist, and harpist. Her last two CDs featured her transcriptions of keyboard music of Domenico Scarlatti.
Read More » Music of Cuba & Spain, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
The Washington Post - October 30, 2006
“Aaron Larget-Caplan is a riveting artist whose musical styling begs immediate attention. His classical guitar performance was a treasure, and his fiery flamenco dancer, La Conja, was equally passionate. Larget-Caplan thoroughly understands Flamenco and Spanish guitar, and he is a true original. This virtuoso's performances showcase the classical guitar's eclecticism and reflection. Larget-Caplan's guitar is a Spanish gem from New England whose acoustic melodies should not be missed!”
Read More » The Music of Spain, Latin America - CD Release Party/Performance
FlamencoBuzz.com - March 25, 2006
“The music of Spain, Latin America, and the United States was performed at Aaron's CD release party. The CD release: "Tracing a wheel on water" was celebrated with the show and a reception which also featured the artwork of Debra Ostrokolowicz Horan & Pamela Redick, the Spanish dance of Gabriela Granados & cornet of Geoffrey Shamu.”
"Tracing a Wheel on Water is Musical, Affecting and Skilled"
“The program is eclectic and engaging. Of the pieces new, or relatively so, to me, I especially liked Kevin Siegfried's piece, which exhibited a lot of compositional control and felt very satisfying to listen to. Your playing was lively throughout and nicely present. It all sounds like the product of careful consideration."
“Aaron's playing [on Tracing a wheel on water] sounds like a careful balance of head and heart, as the execution never lets mechanical precision overtake the music’s inherent emotional warmth.”
“I love Gauthier's cover painting. I can imagine the bird's beak claws plucking the strings.”
“Just love the colors. All the works are so diverse. After listening 3 times I really enjoyed it, after 10 I was blown away by all of the nuances of color & sound. You even inspired my wife & I to dance a tango.”
“Aaron-- your CD is terrific--really nice sound and exiting rhythm on your part and also interesting pieces...”