Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić Fends Off Sophomore Slump with 'Pasion'

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Any artist with a successful debut album fears what's next: the notorious sophomore slump. When it's the product of a serious major-label marketing push, the pressure to prove yourself is even more daunting. That's why Miloš Karadaglić's second album, “Pasion,” is a pleasant surprise. The guitarist explores a wide breadth of Latin American music, including core classical repertoire by Villa-Lobos and Ponce, tangos by Piazzolla and Gardel and other works from Mexico, Brazil and Paraguay.

Karadaglić was born in Montenegro in 1983 and studied classical guitar at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He eventually caught the attention of Deutsche Grammophon, which signed him up and released his first album, “Mediterraneo,” which spent much of last year at the top of the classical album charts. It doesn't hurt that his album covers play up his heartthrob looks, something you may also notice from his WQXR Café Concert, taped last year.

For "Pasion" he’s shifted his focus and built an altogether heftier program. Villa-Lobos’s Prelude No. 1, composed for Andrés Segovia, is performed with clarity and poise as well as an expressive rubato. The same composer’s Mazurka-Chôro gently fuses elements of Brazilian street music and European dance forms. Another treat is Argentine-born Jorge Morel’s supple, energetic Danza brasilera.

Contemporary pieces on the album include a Milonga by Argentine composer Jorge Cardoso and Un día de noviembre by the prolific Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. But Karadaglić doesn’t give short shrift to the popular Latin standards. There's Piazzolla’s classics Libertango and Oblivion, Gardel’s Por una cabeza (as seen in “Scent of a Woman”) and Rodríguez’s La cumparsita, also familiar from television and film. Backing the guitarist on several tracks is the Studioorchester der Europäischen FilmPhilharmonie.

'Pasion' (this album goes by the title 'Latino' outside the U.S.)
Milos, guitar
Studioorchester der Europäischen FilmPhilharmonie
Deutsche Grammophon
Available at Arkivmusic.com