Dubbed "the Paganini of the guitar," the Paraguayan composer/guitarist Agustín Barrios MangorÉ (1885-1944) composed more than 300 pieces for his instrument, many of which haven't survive

Dubbed "the Paganini of the guitar," the Paraguayan composer/guitarist Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885-1944) composed more than 300 pieces for his instrument, many of which haven't survived. But those that have endured into the 21st century hold a rare allure, with such beguiling pieces as "La Catedral," "Aire de Zamba," "Choro de Saudade," and "Mazurca Apasionada" having more in common with the nocturnal Romanticism of Chopin than the devilish pyrotechnics of Paganini. Such world-class virtuosos as David Russell have recorded Barrios pieces to great effect, yet Peruvian guitarist Alexander-Sergei Ramirez's own selection is individual and utterly persuasive. To single out one performance, his interpretation of the melodious romanza "Confesión" effectively conveys an acute emotional hush, as if the piece were sharing a particularly intimate confidence. With lovely recording quality and packaging, this album should appeal far beyond classical guitar fans to music lovers of all stripes.—BB

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