Music News & Reviews

The Classical Beat: The Romeros at Yardley Hall and Richard Goode at the Folly

The Romero family will perform a selection of Spanish classics Saturday at Yardley Hall. The performance is part of the 25th Performing Arts Series season at Johnson County Community College.
The Romero family will perform a selection of Spanish classics Saturday at Yardley Hall. The performance is part of the 25th Performing Arts Series season at Johnson County Community College. From the artists

Known as “The Royal Family of the Guitar,” the Romeros gave their first concert in 1960.

The original ensemble included patriarch and founder Celedonio and sons Pepe, Angel and Celin. Although Celedonio died in 1995 and his son, Angel, left the group in 1991, Celedonio’s grandsons, Celino and Lito, have joined the group and the Romeros are as strong and vibrant as ever, carrying on the great tradition of Spanish classical guitar.

The Romeros will perform Saturday at Yardley Hall in what promises to be one of the stand-out concerts of 25th anniversary season of the Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College.

The concert will offer a whirlwind tour of some of the finest Spanish guitar music from the late 19th century to the present day. Beloved classics such as “Asturias” by Isaac Albeniz will be represented, along with other perennial favorites by Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Joaquin Turina and Joaquin Rodrigo. The group also will play pieces by Celedonio and Pepe Romero.

“We will be playing two flamenco compositions of my own for four guitars,” Pepe Romero said. “One is an Arabian dance that I call ‘El Sacromonte.’ Sacromonte is the mountain that is directly across from the Alhambra in Granada, the last fortress of the Arabians that were in Spain. It’s the mountain where flamenco originated when the Muslims and the Jewish people were thrown out of Spain.”

It’s extraordinary that one family can contain so much talent for one particular instrument. Pepe Romero recalls that he and his brother took to the guitar as though it were second nature.

“Our father played the guitar for us, each of us, as we were born,” he said. “We all were born to the sound of the guitar, and on the night that he passed away, my father asked me to play for him, so he would leave this world and go on to the next one surrounded by the vibrations of music and the guitar.”

Musical genius is not the only remarkable thing about the Romeros, but also their ability to get along. Conflict has been rare as they’ve toured and performed together for so many years.

“You know, it’s not always peaceful, but any arguments always have solutions,” Romero said. “I know for a fact that whenever we have been in an argument and we pick up our guitars and start playing, the solutions come. Music is great for that. Yes, I think everybody should take time to listen to music. It is my life’s wish that people could live in harmony. It hasn’t happened so far, but that doesn’t mean it cannot.”

8 p.m. Saturday. Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College, 12345, College Blvd., Overland Park. Preshow talk at 7 p.m. $15-$40. 913-469-4445 or www.jccc.edu/theseries.

Richard Goode

Since first presenting Richard Goode performing all of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s piano sonatas on its 1987-88 season, the Friends of Chamber Music has brought the pianist back several times.

If you haven’t heard any of Goode’s earlier recitals, you have an opportunity to acquaint yourself with this great master of the keyboard Friday at the Folly Theater.

Goode will play what he plays so well, the music of Beethoven. In addition to Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 27 and 31 and the Bagatelles, Op. 126, Goode will devote the second half of his recital to Franz Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959.

Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 27 “Les adieux” is one of the most aching expressions of the composer’s lonely soul. His Bagatelles, Op. 126, are shorter pieces but with a profundity of their own, while the Piano Sonata No. 31 is another masterpiece that struggles to achieve its final affirmation of life.

The Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959, was Schubert’s penultimate work for piano. Like many of his other sonatas, it is a journey for the pianist and audience. To accompany an artist like Goode on his exploration of Schubert is a rare opportunity to be savored and reflected upon.

8 p.m. Friday. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $15-$35. 816-561-9999 or www.chambermusic.org.

Reach Patrick Neas at patrickneas@gmail.com.

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