Over the last year and a half I have gone through periods of believing that recording my feelings of isolation and solitude would be worthwhile, but it didn’t take very long before I realised that I’d taken in enough meditations on loneliness for a lifetime. Instead, I’ve recorded something closer to the opposite. Some of these pieces are from my childhood; others reference a sort of ideal childlike state; but everything on this album has given me deep comfort and sustenance over a difficult and traumatic period.
Colleagues of mine have sometimes asked what it would take for me to get over my apparent aversion to the sentimentality of the Spanish repertoire traditionally associated with the guitar. I could, perhaps, tell those colleagues that a global pandemic would do the trick, but I would argue that all of the ostensibly Spanish composers presented here demonstrate the fecundity of the Franco-Spanish connection, and — to go further than that — Mompou, central to this programme, is perhaps more European than Spanish. He eschews all flamboyant piquancy; his homage to Santiago de Compostela instead softly adores, the ecclesiastical overtones never overbear; and, somehow, these pieces sum up pilgrimage at its most existentially humanist. For Mompou, melancholy, aimlessness and a whole host of other feelings are not things to be avoided or fixed or solved, but experiences to be deeply felt; when his music reflects, it is less with sad nostalgia than genuine wonder and excitement at what this means for the future.
Pre-Order CD (official EU store): http://pentatonemusic.com/sean-shibe-camino-ravel-de-falla-satie-poulenc-jose
Pre-Order CD (Presto Classical, UK): https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/8938363–camino
iTunes/Apple Music: https://smarturl.it/CaminoSeanShibe
Shibe’s ability to command a wide dynamic range within a relatively restricted compass naturally comes to the fore. And though his monk-like appearance may sway the imagination somewhat, his exquisite sense of space and unfolding invites comparison with late conductor Sergiu Celibidache’s Zen-influenced performance practice.
There are innumerable other riches on ‘Camino’, a release that considerably enhances Shibe’s reputation for having one of the most discriminating ears in the business.Gramophone Magazine, Editors Choice September 2021