Leonard Ranallo's Junior Recital
Oberlin Conservatory junior, Leonard ("Lenny") Ranallo, played his junior recital last weekend in the gorgeous Stull Recital Hall. He brought an unusual dimension to the performance by reciting poetry before each musical presentation. This was a first for guitar recitals here and the audience not only took it in stride, but embraced the notion, giving him a warm reception for each set. He picked the poems, he told me, broadly according to time period and with an effort to capture some of the feeling of the music as he perceived it.
He opened with a reading of "The Harp" by Pablo Neruda, followed by a performance of El Decameron Negro of Brouwer. Next, he set up Mertz's Elegy with a reading of Artur Rimbaud's "Ophelia."
"My Lute Awake," by Sir Thomas Wyatt set the stage for Bach's Lute Suite, BWV 997. Finally, Lenny set up a Barrios set with a return to Neruda, this time with "Ah Vastness of Pines."
In all, it was a lively and culturally rich evening of guitar music. Beautifully played and thoughtfully constructed, Lenny transformed the usual into the rare. What a great surprise!
Here is the complete program: