A beautiful and inspiring concert by Robert Wetzel that occurred on the 29th of October at Cuyamaca College has touched some unknown before string of my heart as this was the first time I visited this type of a concert. Robert Wetzel creates technically strong, deep, mysterious musical performances with a robust taste of classics. His concerts are truly magical, delightful, and meaningful.
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Robert Wetzel is a representative of the generation of guitarists who were lucky to be taught by the legendary Celedonio Romero and his three almost as much talented sons, Angel, Pepe, and Celin. Preferring the classical guitar, he has become a famous musician who gives concerts, teaches (he has a private studio), makes records, and arranges music.
His first concert was performed together with his teachers, the Romero’s family. Robert Wetzel became the fourth member of the Napa Music Festival in 1977. He was the first guitarist to get the degree of a Master of Music from San Diego State University with the help of Celin Romero.
Robert Wetzel is a founding member of the well-known, award-winning band on classical music “Odeum Guitar Duo”, together with his colleague, composer, and guitarist, Fred Benedetti. Their mutual love for the interesting, innovative music, as well as the classical guitar, has pulled them together to create the masterpieces of the musical world in California, 1991.Their CDs contain the arrangements on Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Bach, Boccherini, Schumann, Rimsky-Korsakov, Torelli, Albeniz, Scriabin, Mertz. Moreover, his recorded discs contain also the original music for solo guitar by Niccolo Paganini, Jose Broca, Gaspar Sanz, Francesco Molino, Francisco Guerau, Jose Ferrer, Angel Barrios, Fernando Sor, including the guitar performances by Wetzel of Francisco da Milano arrangements for the lute.
Robert Wetzel often performs in solo, orchestral concerts and chamber music, currently residing in San Diego, California. For one of his discs, “Concert Hall Classics”, he was honoured and awarded as one of the best top ten independently released guitar CDs in 2000 by the magazine “Acoustic Guitar”.
At the concert I attended, there were not many people, that is why I thought that the time will not be worth it. However, with the first accords by Robert Wetzel, the whole concert hall was mesmerized and listened quietly to each touch to the string. His music is really fabulous. Classic works in the guitar performance take on a new sound, creating a special atmosphere of attending some Renaissance concert but with a modern tinge to it - the combination of past and present in the Cuyamaca College’s Performing Arts Theatre.
One of his plays is “Rondo” by Henry Purcell. It reminds us of the Baroque times of oversized objects and posh women’s dresses and men’s powdered wigs. This play gives the opportunity to feel the old England.
The rhythm is comparatively quite fast, giving the listener the feeling of depth and majesty. Robert Wetzel plays are a little bit slower than intended by Henry Purcell, but this is the beauty of the musical work, I suppose, that it can be slightly modified according to the purpose the performer follows, transferring some subjective meaning and showing the audience some other sides of the work.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Robert Wetzel’s performances reflect his own feelings for sophisticated and elegant, soft music. He possesses a special gift for creating an atmosphere of tranquillity and harmony with his plays.