Fine debut recording from Tengyue Zhang

Guitar recital – Tengyue Zhang

Tengyue Zhang (guitar)

Tengyue Zhang was born in Hebei, China and began to study classical guitar at the age of five with his father. In 2012, he was accepted into The Juilliard School undergraduate programme, and studied there with Sharon Isbin. In 2017, he won the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) International Concert Artist Competition, in a field of wonderful players.

For his his debut recording, on Naxos, Tengyue Zhang offers us an interesting and skilfully selected recital that contains works ranging from the Baroque period through to the twentieth century. It begins with two baroque pieces, from D Scarlatti and J S Bach, in arrangements by the young guitarist. We are then treated to Alexandre Tansman’s Variations on a Theme of Scriabin. Next up are two  of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Caprichos de Goya, followed by Brouwer’s Rito de los Orishas. The recital concludes with a piece by one of the most prolific and recognised living composers for the guitar, the Brazilian guitarist/composer Sérgio Assad. Aquarelle was the first solo-guitar piece to be written by Assad and it has subsequently become well-known, featuring in the repertoire of many guitarists around the world. The work is written in three movements, Divertimento, Valseana and Preludio e toccatina, with the outer movements based upon a three-note music cell.

These varied pieces provide a wide-ranging showcase for Tengyue Zhang and on this evidence he is a consummate performer who thinks deeply about the music that he plays. Here we get over an hour of beautiful guitar playing with Tengyue Zhang displaying an underlying virtuosity that is not showy but simply in the service of the music. Naxos are to be praised for their wonderful Laureate Series and this latest release is no exception.

I, for one, will be watching closely to see how this talented young guitarist’s career develops. I would urge all lovers of classical guitar playing to seek out this release; you will not be disappointed.