Madrid, November 19th, 2010
Anthony Ocana’s recordings let us foresee someone who has talent, sensibility and imagination. I see him as a guitarist of great stature who manages his resources and who knows how to use them very well at the service of his sonorous imagination which confers his work as a composer an important starting base.
The disc titled “Solo” is an attempt to fuse the worlds of popular and cultured music, something that many attempt but few accomplish. He reveals a composer’s mentality that is both imaginative and agile. The technical resources are very well applied, and from the pieces of the disc I am much interested in the version rendered of “Yesterday” which is much more attractive and brings greater result than what is usually produced; I am pleased that, even though Leo Brouwer has created a guitarist version about the same theme, this one has nothing to do with it and it is more personal. To me, “Improviso 2” is also outstanding, it is excellent because of the manner in which it manages the timbric resources and the temporal when the time comes to propose a sonorous universe that ends up as personal, which is very relevant.
“Anthony Ocana” is an album ithat compiles his own songs, with the exception of one inspired in a song by Aute. It is closer to popular music than to the fusion that integrates “Solo”. It is an elegant music and the guitars are performed in an impeccable manner.
The third album, “Wet Fields” seems to me to be undoubtedly the best and also the one most daring. The “Divertimento” is presented as a study of notable guitaristic strength. The “Homage to Heitor Villa Lobos” seems to me a well achieved piece, perhaps the most outstanding one from the three albums, because it creates timbric resources from the guitar that have novelty and interest, while they function with effectiveness. In addition, despite being a music that is very personal, one can feel the relationship with the one being honored. The same could be said of “Estudio 2” where the language of Tarrega is transcended and updated without betraying it; the use of voice and the montage of voices of “Ascening Soul” is supremely to the point and gives as fruit a work rendition that is both attractive and original. “Estudio 5” has the great virtue of immediately evoking Glass, without the need to copy him, and it is the reason why it is very accurate. “Wet Fields” is also of interest by itself.
What we have here is an excellent guitarist, whose composition attempts show a great development towards transcending the level of what is simply popular and that knows how to apply his interpretation resources in order to benefit his creations. It seems to me that he has the capacity of making a place of his own communicating in his own musical language.
Anthony Ocana has great potential, a very promising future, and who already at this present time has achieved levels of interest.
About Tomás Marco:
Marco studied violin and composition in Madrid while at the same time pursuing the study of law (he received his licenciate in law in 1963). He turned to composition in 1958, and in 1962 began attending the Darmstädter Internationale Ferienkurse, where he furthered his studies with Bruno Maderna, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, György Ligeti, Gottfried Michael Koenig, and Theodor W. Adorno. In 1967 he participated in Stockhausen’s collective composition project Ensemble at Darmstadt.
His compositional style is rooted in the music of the Darmstadt School. For example, Transformación (1974) strongly recalls Ligeti’s Lux aeterna (1966) — both are composed for 16 solo voices — as well as the harmonic overtone-singing of Stockhausen’s Stimmung (1968). In 1965 he began a brief association with the neo-Dada composers’ group Zaj, founded the previous year by Walter Marchetti, Juan Hidalgo, and Ramón Barce (Haines 1967). He helped to found the Studio Nueva Generación in 1967, by which time some of his compositions were beginning to include references to historical styles and quotations from earlier composers—for example, Angelus novus (1971) refers to Gustav Mahler, the Cello Concerto (1976) is based on themes by Manuel de Falla as well as the Cant dels ocells by Pablo Casals, and his Fourth and Fifth Symphonies (1987 and 1989, respectively) both use a quotation from Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra (Soler 1994)—and for this reason his name is sometimes connected with the German New Simplicity composers. Around 1970 he began to employ traditional forms such as the symphony, sonata, and, especially, the concerto. His return to nationalism involves amongst other things a number of important works for the guitar, including three concertos (Marco 1995).
In addition to the effect of his prodigious compositional output, he has had a strong influence on Spanish musical life through his work as a critic, broadcaster, writer, editor, educator, and administrator. After five years working as a music critic for various newspapers and magazines, in 1967 he founded, together with Ramón Barce, the magazine Sonda, dedicated to the subject of contemporary music. For eleven years he worked in the music division of the Radio Nacional de España, and for three years was professor of music history at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) and professor of composition at the Conservatorio Real in Madrid. He has served as technical director of the Spanish National Orchestra (1981–85) and the Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Music (1985–95), and founded the Alicante International Contemporary Music Festival which he directed for eleven seasons. In 1996 he became Director General of the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escenicas y la Música (National Institute for Music and the Performing Arts), a post he held until 1999.