With his characteristic mellowness and crowd-pleasing appeal, guitarist Christopher Parkening presented a frequently engaging concert entitled "A Tribute to Andres Segovia" in Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. With much of the familiar fare the native Angeleno musician has presented in the past, the program included only a few selections by his mentor, Segovia.
Two of these, "Estudio sin luz" and "Remembranza," demonstrated an introspective seriousness less often heard at Parkening's concerts--a refreshing addition. A set of four arrangements of Catalan songs arranged by Segovia and guitarist Miguel Llobet were also compelling.
Otherwise, it was mostly business as usual Thursday evening, with notable exceptions, such as Pipo's elegant "Cancion y Danza," Rodrigo's provocative and less-known "Zarabanda Lejana" and Albeniz's virtuosic "Serenata." Other shorter works included Gaspar Sanz's "Canarios," with its infectious melody and rhythmic strummings.
Parkening's unobtrusive style of performance is best represented with light, accessible works, especially from the Baroque era. His left-hand movement tends to be less graceful than it could be, but with a careful choice of repertory, he manages to charm with his almost excessive relishing of soft sonorities and simple passages.
Guitarist David Brandon assisted in a set of works for two guitars. Of these, the lively Prelude by Ponce and a neo-Baroque Prelude and Fugue by Castelnuovo-Tedesco evoked the most fascination.
The duo also offered a lively Danza by Ernesto Halffter, one of three encores. Parkening also played at Ambassador Auditorium on Sunday evening.