Not every young girl of twelve is able to walk off with the first prize at the International Tokyo Guitar Competition, and yet this is precisely what Wang Yameng did in 1993, after barely two years of tuition.
Wang Yameng was born in Qingdao, in the province of Shandong in China. She inherited her love for the guitar from her father, an amateur guitarist. When she was six he gave her a small size guitar as well as some guitar records to which she listened a great deal as a young child, especially those made by Chen Zhi. She displayed such talent that her parents enrolled her in the only conservatoire in Beijing to offer guitar lessons, given by none other than the renowned teacher Chen Zhi. He later declared her to be the most gifted and hardest working of all his pupils.
In 1995, she attended a masterclass in Beijing given by John Williams who made her a present of his own guitar, an instrument made by the Australian guitarmaker Greg Smallman, and on which Wang Yameng made this recording for GHA. As well as making her mark in other international competitions such as Alessandria in 1995 and Madrid in 1996, Wang Yameng has given much acclaimed recitals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, France, Spain and in Australia (1999).
This album, Wang Yameng’s first recording made at the age of sixteen, is mainly of original works for guitar by the principal guitar composers of the 19th century, the exception being a transcription of the “Caprice” by the violinist and guitarist Paganini. The pieces selected here run from the “Grand solo” by Fernando Sor (1778-1839) to “El delirio” by Antonio Cano, by way of one of the “Rosiniane” by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829), the “Grand solo” by Napoléon Coste
(1806-1883) and one of the “Airs variés” by Giulio Regondi (1822-1872), representing roughly a century of Romantic guitar music.
The least known of these composers is undoubtedly the Spanish Antonio Cano (1811-1897), a teacher at Madrid Conservatoire and a colleague of Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849). Cano published a method for guitar in 1852, which was re-issued in 1868 accompanied by a treatise on harmony for the instrument. “El delirio” is just one of the hundred or so compositions and exercises that he bequeathed to posterity.