A Greek guitarist who studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with the likes of Sérgio Assad, David Tanenbaum, Marc Tiecholz, and others, Paul Psarras has put together an album that is, in his words, “a collection of Baroque and Renaissance transcriptions and contemporary guitar works that especially resonated with me during my studies at the SFCM from 2005 to 2011.” The guitarist covers much ground on the CD: Among the handful of pieces from the distant past come a wonderful Baroque lute sonata by Weiss, a Renaissance lute piece by Marco Dall’Aquila, John Dowland’s appropriately titled A Dream, and two from the little-known Ennemond Gaultier, including the fetching title track, a chaconne arranged by Psarras and Tanenbaum. The modern era is nicely represented by Dušan Bogdanovic’s Jazz Sonatina (love that percussive third movement!) and the contrasting moods of SérgioAssad’s Three Greek Letters. Stylistically in-between the Baroque/Renaissance and very contemporary works sits Eduardo Sainz de la Maza’s lovely tremolo piece Campanas del Alba, which Psarras handles quite nicely. Sonically, it’s a fairly ambient recording (most of it captured at the SFCM Recital Hall), which particularly suits the earlier music well and brings out both the subtleties and s;parkle in Psarras’ assured playing. There’s lots to like here.

Sonata for Lute in D Minor (Weiss); Ricercare (Dall’Aquilla) ; La Traditora (Dall’Aquilla); A Dream (Dowland); Baza de Contrapunto (de Narvaez) ; Jazz Sonatina (Bogdanovic); Companas del Alba (E. Sainz de la Maza); Three Greek Letters (Assad) ; Le Langtok (Gaultier); La Cascade (Gaultier)

The album can be previewed and purchased through CDBaby and iTunes, and heard through Spotify, Apple Music, and piecemeal on YouTube.

From the album, Psarras plays John Dowland’s A Dream:

Paul Psarras