When Springfield Classical Guitar Society founder Russel Brazzel calls Bolivian Javier Calderón "one of the deepest musicians to play Springfield," he's referring to the artist's success not only as a performer of classical music but also as an arranger, publisher, and program director (at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). Calderón's credits include concerts in Buenos Aires, Bonn, Madrid, and Seoul; he's played chamber music in ensembles that have included cellist Yo-Yo Ma; he's played Carnegie Hall and performed in Springfield with the Illinois Symphony.
His return on Saturday to the capital city begins with a series of Italian Renaissance folk dances arranged for the lute. "Everyone who has come under the influence of [classical guitarist Andrés] Segovia loves these dances and plays them. I do myself," Brazzel says. Also in the lighter mode is a "faux Baroque" prelude, for years attributed to a Baroque composer until Manuel Ponce revealed himself to be the author in the early 20th century. "This is a cute thing to do, a charming piece," Brazzel says. The six-movement Lute Suite No. 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach and variations on a Mozart theme by Fernando Sor complete the first half of the program.
The neo-Baroque "Cavatina," by Alexander Tansman, is "one of the crown jewels" of the guitar repertoire, Brazzel notes: "It's modern in the way some Stravinsky is modern." Also on the repertoire: "Aire Indio," an Eduardo Cava composition arranged by Calderón, and three pieces by Isaac Albéniz. "It's a combination of meaty, serious music and flashy crowd-pleasers, too," he says.
Javier Calderón performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 17, at First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. Seventh St. Tickets (available at the door) are $12 for adults, $9 for students and seniors.